what is silicon carbide sandpaper used for

what is silicon carbide sandpaper used for

Article Sections

  • Introduction
  • What makes sandpaper so abrasive?
  • Why it’s best to care in regards to the abrasive grain you select to your mission.
  • Aluminum Oxide – The Versatile Powerhouse of Abrasives
  • Silicon Carbide – Self-Sharpening And Nice For Stunning Finishes And Glass
  • Ceramic Alumina – Lengthy Lasting, Nice For Metallic Ending
  • Alumina-Zirconia – The Grittiest Of Them All
  • Conclusion
  • Abrasive Grains Cheat Sheet

Introduction

For those who’re seeking to create the most effective model of your woodworking or steel initiatives, little doubt sanding might be a key a part of that course of, whether or not you’re tough sanding to take away jagged edges, de-burr, in preparation for gluing, or in case you are within the ending and sharpening phases.

Every of those steps clearly requires completely different sandpaper grits to get the most effective outcomes, however the grain kind can even affect your general outcomes – and imagine it or not, it could even be greatest to vary varieties relying on the fabric you’re working with and the stage you’re at. So, clearly, choosing the proper kind of abrasive might be important, and will imply the distinction between a high-quality completed product and an amateurish-looking piece, along with rising the lifetime of your sandpaper, getting the most effective outcomes to your sanding/sharpening/ending stage, having a quicker, cleaner and cooler (decreased warmth/friction) sanding job.

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However, what to choose? It might actually be overwhelming to decide on, when you begin to look into all of the varieties of coated abrasives available on the market (to not point out simply on our web site!), even if you happen to’re an skilled sander. On this article and accompanying supplies, we’ll element the most typical abrasive grains we provide and a few of the situations and supplies that they work greatest for.

And, if you happen to’re extra of a visible learner, skip to the underside of this text and obtain the infographic with all this info.

(Word that the majority of those merchandise are pretty versatile, designed in a lab for explicit situations and you could have different components to contemplate, corresponding to funds, time and flexibility of supplies/initiatives, kind of sanding course of/machine, product format necessities, so use this solely as a information – don’t take it as gospel.)

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So, wait… If it’s not really sand, what makes it so abrasive?

For those who’re studying this text, it could not come as a lot of a shock to you that the time period “sandpaper” is definitely a misnomer, because the grittiness of sandpaper just isn’t really produced from sand, like on the seashore, and this grit just isn’t all the time even hooked up to paper.

So, if it’s not precise sand, then what’s it? And, what are the variations between the assorted abrasive supplies?

Sandpaper is definitely a kind of coated abrasive, which means, it’s produced from some kind of abrasive “grain”, corresponding to the categories we’re going into on this article, which is affixed to some form of backing – usually paper, material, plastic, and even foam sponges or mesh. There could or will not be different added fillers or coatings, corresponding to stearation.

Nowadays, there are a number of varieties of abrasive supplies used on sandpaper merchandise, together with a number of pure rocks/minerals and a handful of artificial substances, manufactured in labs, every with their very own benefits and drawbacks.

The most typical pure minerals utilized in abrasives are emery and garnet, whereas 4 widespread artifical varieties are silicon carbide, aluminum oxide, ceramic alumina and alumina- zirconia. Every varies in longevity, coarseness/aggressiveness, quantity of friction required, friability, price, supreme software, out there grit sizes and coating and what codecs of merchandise they’re out there on, corresponding to disks, sheets, or belts.

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Why it’s best to care in regards to the abrasive grain you select to your mission.

Earlier than we talk about every of those grains, it’s essential to contemplate why these traits matter. First, and let’s be actual, does anybody actually get pleasure from sanding? For those who do, tell us!! …However for the remainder of us, sanding could be a bit time consuming, boring and even a ache on the arms, so, wouldn’t it’s nice if we may make the method extra environment friendly, and simpler? Apart from making it merely tolerable with some headphones and nice music, we will usually velocity up the method by utilizing the right kind of abrasive product for our software with correct method, which can save time and sources.

Moreover, utilizing the right abrasive grain / mission materials mixture, in addition to correct method and stress, can even assist to cut back sanding prices by permitting your merchandise to last more. A method this occurs is due to utilizing merchandise that create much less friction, and due to this fact much less warmth, which causes the abrasives to chop extra successfully, not burn your materials and clog up much less. Moreover, the friability, or the attribute that permits grains to interrupt to type new, sharp edges (self-sharpening), permits you to go longer earlier than the sandpaper wears out.

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Now that you already know why it’s essential to decide on the best grain for the mission, let’s talk about every of the 4 choices we’ve got out there.

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Aluminum Oxide – The Versatile Powerhouse of Abrasives

Probably the most versatile of the artificial abrasive grains, Aluminum Oxide generally is available in three varieties: pink, white and brown, or semi-friable. Aluminum oxide is a chemical compound of aluminum and oxygen shaped by fusion after which damaged down and sorted by grit dimension by way of a collection of mesh screens (see this video for an instance). Every of the categories measures at about 9 on the Mohs Hardness Scale, a measurement scale that defines how resistant supplies are to scratching. The Mohs scale locations widespread minerals on a scale of 1 by way of ten, beginning with Talc on the backside and Diamond at ten.

More often than not, the kind of aluminum oxide won’t be talked about on our web site, nonetheless every kind is extra appropriate for various kinds of sanding.

Aluminum oxide-based coated abrasives can be utilized in belt sanding, energy sanding or for hand sanding purposes, and can be found on a variety of backing supplies with each open and closed coatings.

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Pink Aluminum Oxide

Pink

Pink aluminum oxide is accessible in coarse by way of positive grit merchandise on quite a lot of completely different backings and in quite a lot of codecs. It typically works properly for softer substrates, corresponding to wooden, for aggressive sanding.

White

White aluminum oxide is accessible in coarse by way of positive grit merchandise on quite a lot of completely different backings and in quite a lot of codecs. It typically works properly for wooden, offering a cooler sanding expertise for aggressive sanding on wooden and lacquers, in addition to to be used between coats of end in your woodworking initiatives.

Brown/Semi-friable

Brown, or semi-friable, aluminum oxide is the most typical kind of aluminum oxide, due to its versatility. It’s out there in coarse by way of micro grit merchandise, coming affixed to quite a lot of completely different backings and in quite a lot of codecs. It typically works properly for more durable substrates, corresponding to steel (notably softer metals), fiberglass, drywall, painted/primed surfaces and wooden. When utilized in coarser grits, from 80 to 180, with a medium stress/pressure, this grain works properly for wooden and steel inventory elimination, permitting the grains to interrupt and re-sharpen, making the product last more. When utilized in finer grits, round 600-800, this materials is nice for ending and sharpening steel.

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Silicon Carbide – Self-Sharpening And Nice For Stunning Finishes And Glass

Silicone CarbideSilicon Carbide, one other well-liked grain kind, is a semiconductor containing silicon and carbon and is produced by way of carbothermal discount. It’s the hardest widespread abrasive grain, aside from diamond, and measures at a 9.5 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness.

Whereas silicon carbide tends to put on faster than aluminum oxide, it’s also sharper and extra friable, due to this fact it’s nonetheless a long-lasting product and is good for makes use of on more durable supplies, rougher surfaces, and for sharpening, resulting from its hardness and sharpness. It’s best for metals (notably more durable metals) and is the one grain that can be utilized on glass, stone and marble. Silicon carbide can be efficient on MDF and cork.

Silicon carbide is continuously utilized in moist sanding purposes, corresponding to sharpening stone and marble, in addition to automotive sharpening purposes. In coarser grits, this abrasive is sweet for eradicating rust, deburring steel and glass, refinishing wooden flooring (chopping by way of/eradicating previous end). Silicon carbide may also be used to sand between ending coats in woodworking initiatives, so it is not uncommon to make use of aluminum oxide for tough sanding of uncooked wooden, and change to silicon carbide when within the ending phases of the identical mission.

Being a fairly versatile, and comparatively forgiving, abrasive grain, silicon carbide is accessible on belts, disks, sheets, sponges and to be used in energy sanding and hand sanding purposes.

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Ceramic Alumina – Lengthy Lasting, Nice For Metallic Ending

Ceramic Alumina, c/o Imerys
photograph c/o Imerys

Ceramic alumina is a long-lasting artificial grain produced straight as a grain by way of an aqueous dispersion of positive aluminum oxide powder. Whereas it might probably usually be costlier, it lasts longer and gives a cooler sanding expertise than aluminum oxide. Typically merely known as ceramic, this grain works greatest on steel, stainless-steel particularly, and requires a tough floor/stress with a view to activate the friability. Whereas it may be used on wooden, will probably be very aggressive ploughing by way of the wooden as a substitute of chopping it. This might result in a really uneven scratch sample which can lead to a poor end.

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Alumina-Zirconia – The Grittiest Of Them All

Alumina Zirconia, photo c/o Imerys
photograph c/o Imerys

Alumina-Zirconia, additionally known as zirc or zirconium, is produced by die-casting and is often out there in solely coarser grits, as much as 120, on belts and disks for energy sanding items. As a result of this grain is greatest for heavy inventory elimination in mills, an preliminary sanding of uncooked woods, and eradicating burrs from very arduous metals, it’s largely out there on heavy material backings with largely open coats, to offer a sturdy product with area for lots of fabric to build up. This permits the merchandise to resist medium to excessive stress and keep away from clogging too shortly. When you have loads of tough sanding to do for uncooked woods, rust or different steel work, selecting zirconia may be the most suitable choice, despite a probably greater worth, as a result of it should last more, be extra friable, and supply a cooler sanding expertise than aluminum oxide.

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Conclusion

As you’ll be able to see, there are actually many points that can affect which abrasive grain, and due to this fact, which “sandpaper” might be greatest to your explicit software. Whereas aluminum oxide is the most typical, and usually most inexpensive of our merchandise, selecting one other materials, or mixture of supplies and grits, would possibly finally be less expensive, longer lasting and much more efficient on the job, even if you happen to solely work with one base materials. As an illustration, in case you are somebody that continuously works with jagged wooden, bringing all of it the way in which to a end, or if you happen to work with reclaimed steel elements for automobiles, it could make sense to combine, due to this fact, selecting completely different grains for coarser purposes verses ending and sharpening.

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Abrasive Grains Cheat Sheet

Here’s a pattern of an amazing infographic, designed to assist make all this info a lot easier, and simpler to know.

Click on right here to obtain a full decision PDF of the infographic.

If you want additional info or help, we welcome you to contact our customer support or gross sales representatives.

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