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The Complete Guide to Abrasive Materials

Abrasives Metal processing

Abrasive materials are widely used in various industries as a tool for processing metal and non-metal materials. Whether it is small items in daily life, or large-scale equipment manufacturing, are not without the figure of abrasive materials. So, what are abrasive materials? What kinds of abrasives are there? How to choose the right abrasive? This blog will open the veil of abrasive materials for you.

What are abrasive materials?

Abrasive materials are hard materials used for cutting, grinding and polishing. They usually have the following characteristics:

  • Sharp edges and grains
  • High hardness and wear resistance
  • Good chemical stability

Role of abrasive materials

  • Removal of excess material from the surface of the workpiece: used in manufacturing, processing and maintenance, e.g. removal of metal burrs, casting defects, residual height of welds, old paint film, etc.
  • Polishing and sanding: used to improve the surface finish and aesthetics of the workpiece, such as stone processing, glass processing, carpentry polishing and so on.


Classification of abrasive materials

According to the source classification, abrasive materials can be divided into natural abrasives and man-made abrasives.

  • Natural abrasives: naturally occurring hard minerals, such as diamond, quartz sand, corundum and so on.
  • Artificial abrasives: abrasives produced by synthetic methods, such as alumina, silicon carbide, boron nitride and so on.

According to the material classification, abrasive materials can be divided into the following categories:

  • Diamond abrasives: the highest hardness, the strongest cutting force, the best wear-resistant abrasives, suitable for processing cemented carbide, ceramics and other difficult-to-machine materials.
  • Aluminum oxide abrasive: the most widely used abrasive, suitable for processing a variety of metal and non-metallic materials.
  • Silicon phosphate salt abrasives: with good self-sharpening, high temperature resistance and chemical stability, suitable for grinding cast iron, stainless steel and other materials.
  • Ceramic abrasives: with high hardness, high strength, high wear resistance, suitable for grinding high-strength steel, carbide and other materials.

Ceramic abrasives

Application of abrasive materials

Abrasive materials are used in a wide range of applications, including but not limited to.

Metal processing

  • Metal deburring: using abrasives to deburr castings, forgings, etc., to obtain a smooth surface.
  • Metal polishing: through the abrasives on the surface of the parts to be polished, improve the degree of finish.
  • Tool sharpening: Sharpening of tools with abrasives to restore their sharpness.

Non-metallic material processing

  • Stone processing: used for stone cutting, polishing and other processes.
  • Glass processing: abrasives on glassware, such as trimming, polishing and other processing.
  • Wood polishing: the use of abrasives on the surface of wood products for grinding, polishing.

Other fields

For example, it is used to manufacture abrasives such as grinding wheels, sandpaper, and abrasive cloth; it is used for sandblasting and honing processes.

Choosing the right abrasive material

When choosing abrasive materials, the following factors need to be considered:

  • Workpiece material: different workpiece materials need to choose different abrasive materials. For example, the processing of cemented carbide requires the use of diamond abrasives, and the processing of cast iron can use aluminum oxide abrasives.
  • Processing requirements: according to the processing requirements to choose the appropriate abrasive particle size and shape. For example, roughing requires the use of coarser abrasives, finishing requires the use of finer abrasives.
  • Cost budget: the price of abrasive materials of different materials varies greatly, you need to choose the right abrasive material according to the actual situation.

Silicon carbide for sandblasting

Grain specifications

The specifications of abrasive grains mainly include two aspects: grain size and shape.

  • Grain size: refers to the size of the abrasive particles, usually expressed in mesh. The larger the mesh, the finer the abrasive particles.
  • Shape: The shape of abrasive particles is usually lumpy, columnar, spherical and so on. Different shapes are suitable for different processing occasions.

Safe use of abrasive materials

When using abrasive materials, you need to pay attention to the following safety matters:

  • Wear personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks, goggles, gloves, etc. to prevent dust injury.
  • Use good ventilation to prevent dust accumulation.
  • Dispose of waste abrasive materials reasonably to prevent pollution of the environment.


To summarize, abrasive materials as an important processing materials, its type, application, selection and other aspects have a lot of need to pay attention to. Only with reasonable selection and safe use, can we maximize the role of abrasive materials and improve the processing efficiency and quality.

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