What are Abrasives? Learn about Abrasives.
Abrasives are used in a myriad of industries, from wood-working to metal work to cleaning. When working with wood, sandpaper is the most common abrasive used. However, there are other types of abrasives that work just as well. Steel wool is used to smooth the finish between coats of varnish. A nylon abrasive pad can serve the same function, and it is reusable. Finally, pumice stone mixed with a little bit of water is good for smoothing out final lacquer finishes.
An abrasive is used in metalworking for many reasons. If it is used to grind down freshly cut metal, the process is called deburring. Usually deburring is done by tumbling parts in a barrel along with the chosen abrasive, which can be a coated abrasive like sandpaper, nonwoven products and stones. Abrasives used to polish a finished product include hard minerals like diamond or synthetic minerals, although in less critical processes almost anything can become an abrasive, including ice, walnut shells and plastic.
Pressure blasting is a treatment used by professional industrial cleaners. The process works by regulating the flow of abrasive material—glass beads, steel grit or plastic, for example—from a pressure tank. Pressure up to 100Psi can be maintained to peel the paint off boats or cut blemishes off metallic product.
Finally, bonded abrasives can be used in most any industry. A bonded abrasive can be material fused together through heat (vitreous) or an abrasive glued by resin to a tough substrate (nonvitreous). The grinding wheel and synthetic sharpening stone are examples of the bonded abrasive.
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