The most common abrasive grits for processing different materials.
In many industrial processes, abrasives belt are used for operations that allow the materials finishing and they’re used in the various machines. But specifically, what is an abrasive?
It’s a material with a specific hardness and density that allows to work and refine other materials by removing and reducing surface roughness. One of the most common operations is the surface sanding or polishing; but they can also be used in many other operations, and the final result depends on a set of characteristics of the abrasive, such as hardness, cutting speed, type of material, grain.
What materials are used?
Abrasive materials can be of natural or synthetic origin, and are distinguished mainly by grain and hardness. By definition, a material is able to abrade another when one scratches the other when they touch it.
The hardest abrasive material found in nature is diamond – which for obvious reasons is rarely used in finishing operations. However, there are several other lower cost abrasive materials, such as silicon carbide, corundum and zirconium, which do not reach the hardness of diamond, but are very close.
How is an abrasive made? With a support suitable for adhering the abrasive powder – generally with resin or glue, such as paper or canvas. To create more complex tools such as discs and flap wheels, industrial processes are required, which ensure absolutely professional and resistant results.
The speed of the abrasion operation and the result produced also depend on the grain thickness, so they can be very rough, generic or used above all for finishing and polishing the material. Here are the specifications of some of the main abrasives:
- Corundum, or aluminum oxide: the most common abrasive, is very hard and allows excellent penetration and good wear resistance. It is suitable for sanding more resistant materials such as steel, bronze and hard woods;
- Zirconium: a less hard evolution of corundum, very tenacious and able to self-revive during processing. Particularly suitable for deburring metals, hard alloys and for calibrating wood;
- Silicon carbide: the hardest and sharpest material but also very brittle and quick to wear. It is therefore suitable for finishing weaker and more fragile materials, such as aluminum, brass, bronze, but also rubber, plastic, fibrous woods;
- Ceramic: comparable in hardness to corundum, it is suitable for difficult materials such as stainless steels and alloys, as well as for heavy removal.
What are their uses?
Abrasives are used above all in industrial type processes, especially in the wood, metallurgical, aluminum and plastic processing and many other materials sectors. Many of the objects we use every day are produced thanks to the use of abrasives, from car components up to the parquet surface finishes, but also for furnishing parts, accessories. In addition, of course, to the many different industrial processes and processes that serve to create products and articles necessary for the realization of other elements.