Use of Industrial Abrasives

By: Marcus Ronan

The majority of industrial abrasives which are used in manufacturing processes are made from minerals (hard ones). These are used to then shape or provide a certain kind of finish to an item through rubbing against it. As the abrasives rub against the item they begin to wear the surface away. Sometimes the surface will have a smooth reflective finish and other times it will be somewhat rougher providing a satin, beaded or matte finish to it instead.

These abrasives are extremely commonplace and are used in a variety of different industries. Because of this the chemical and physical composition of the abrasive being used varies greatly from one industry to the next. Along with abrasives being used to polish the surface of an item they are also used for buffing, grinding, honing, drilling, sharpening, sanding and cutting.

The majority of abrasives as we have mentioned are made from hard minerals which will have a rating of 7 or above on the Mohs scale. It is this scale which is a quick way of seeing just how hard a mineral is. Along with abrasives made from minerals there are some now being made using synthetic stones.

The majority of synthetic stones used in abrasive materials have a similar chemical and physical composition to those of the minerals. However, the major difference between these two types of materials used in abrasive products is that minerals occur naturally.

Of all the types of abrasives used for industrial purposes today diamond is the most commonly used. As well as being made naturally this particular abrasive material can also be produced synthetically as well. Most of the diamonds that will be dug from the ground have been made from corundum, whilst those that have been produced by man will have been made using bauxite.

Diamond is one of the hardest abrasives known to man, but there are plenty of much softer minerals which can be used as an abrasive. One such soft mineral is calcium carbonate and this is often used as a polishing agent in toothpaste. It is this mineral in your toothpaste which helps to improve the whiteness of your teeth.

But just how effective the industrial abrasive is, is dependent on a number of different factors. One of these is the actual sizes of each grain or grit that makes up the abrasive material. The sizes from ones that are only 40 micrometers in size to those which are 2mm in size and these are the largest. But in order to get the right size pieces of grit for use in abrasive materials the mineral or synthetic stone needs to be crushed first. As it is crushed each piece of grit has rough edges to them that will end in points. This actually reduces the amount of surface which the abrasive comes into contact with but it does allow the user to localize the amount of pressure that they place on an item they are using the abrasive on.

When industrial abrasives are being used the force which is applied to each of the grains that make it up will cause part of the item on which they are rubbing to break away. But not only does the surface of the item begin to wear away so does the surface of the abrasive and this means that after a period of time the actual abrasive will need to be replaced.

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There are a wide variety of uses for industrial abrasives in the automotive and manufacturing sectors. RW Greeff are a seller of industrial abrasives including Dynabrade abrasives and a range of products to business and domestic users.

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