What are abrasives?
An abrasive is a mineral or material capable of polishing a workpiece or a hard surface by grinding, cutting, smoothening, or rubbing. Abrasives are used substantially in a wide range of industrial, domestic, commercial, and technological applications. Some common examples of abrasives include sandpaper, pumice, emery, diamond, and sand.
Types of abrasives
The abrasives are mainly of two types: natural and synthetic.
Natural abrasives are mainly found in the crust of the earth as minerals or rocks. Some of the natural abrasives are garnet, quartz, diamond, corundum, etc. They are not well defined and don’t have controlled properties of hardness. Due to their unreliable and inconsistent performance, they are not widely used in the industries.
- Artificial or synthetic
The artificial or synthetic abrasives are produced in the laboratories by following chemical procedures. Most of the industrial and commercial abrasives are synthesized because they are more reliable and consistent. In synthetic abrasives, we can control the mineral properties up to some extent, which is the main reason they are used in a variety of applications.
Uses of abrasives
Abrasives are used very frequently and widely by many industries because of their properties; some of the most common uses of abrasives are described below:
In this process, abrasives are used to create a smooth surface or make geometrical improvements to the materials.
As we can get an idea from the name itself, lapping is a process of folding the materials. In this, the abrasives are used for giving a fine surface finish to the flat surfaces.
It is the process of giving surface finishing to the inside edges of the material. With the use of abrasives, the surface characteristics like roundness, sizing, and taper is improved.
This process involves the usage of abrasives like diamonds and CBN. To attain an improved surface finish, light pressure with increased reciprocating action is used.
It is a process that is generally used to smooth the surface to reduce friction. Micro-finishing also removes grinding-induced defects and improves the geometry of the surface.
A wide variety of abrasives are used in industries. Sandpaper is one of the most used industrial and commercial abrasives. It is produced in a wide range of sizes and used for smoothening or roughening the materials’ surfaces.