Plastic media blasting is replacing hazardous chemicals in the aircraft paint stripping process. Special care, however, must be taken to insure that plastic media blasting does not damage the thin aircraft skin.
Electronics Incorporated worked under contract with the U.S. Air Force to develop the Aero-Almen gage, the Aero-Almen strip, and the Aero-Almen strip holder for accurate process control. An aluminum strip, made from material common to most aircraft structures, is blasted with the same technique used to strip the paint. If the strip shows any significant curvature (arc height), it is likely that the skin is being damaged and the process must be altered. The Aero-Almen gage is used to make the delicate reading of the thin aluminum test strip.