Abrasive Grain and Finishing Media Information

Abrasive grain and finishing media includes crushed grit, metal shot, glass beads or shaped chips for blasting, mass finishing (vibratory or tumbling), bonded wheels, coated abrasives, ball milling, water jet cutting, and other applications. When selecting abrasive grain and finishing media, material composition is an important specification to consider. Choices include aluminum, aluminum oxide, and alumina-zirconia; boron carbide, carbonate, and cast iron; ceramic materials, cerium oxide, and chromium oxide; and crocus, rouge, and iron oxide. Abrasive grain and finishing media is also available in emery, garnet, or glass; hardwood or corn cobs; minerals, metals, and organic materials; plastic, porcelain, and pumice; and superabrasives or plastic abrasives. 

Product Specifications

Product specifications for abrasive grain and finishing media include type, shape, and bulk density. There are two choices for type: abrasive grain or grit, and shaped media. There are many different choices for shape. Examples include balls or beads, cones or ballcones, crushed or irregular shapes, cubes and rectangles, cylinders and diamonds, and ovals or ellipses. Abrasive grain and finishing media is also shaped into pins, tapers, and shims; pyramids or tetrahedrons; cast or cut-wire shot; stars, tristars, and triangles; and wedges and specialized shapes. Bulk density is the mass per unit area for abrasive grain and finishing media. Tap density and loose pack density are two types of bulk density that are used to understand particle shape and interparticle friction.   

Media Size and Grading System

Media size and grading system are additional specifications to consider when selecting abrasive grain and finishing media. Media size has two lettered dimensions, A and B. Size or grading applies to products using abrasive grains that are held in a matrix or bonded to a surface. Examples include coated abrasives, MSL superabrasives, vitrified grinding wheels, dressing sticks, honing stones, and grit dressers. Grit sizes for abrasive grain and finishing media are based on ANSI, FEPA, JIS, or proprietary grading system standards. These grading systems define a grit size through specified upper and lower limits at certain points in the size distribution. 


Abrasive grain and finishing media are used in many different applications. Some products are designed for abrasive jet cutting, blasting, bending or intermediate cutting, burnishing, cleaning and surface preparation, deburring or deflashing, de-scaling or stripping, and grinding or ball milling. Other abrasive products are designed for peening, polishing or lapping, and tumbling or mass finishing applications. Typically, tumbling and mass finishing media is used to deburr, burnish, color, descale, polish, or clean parts and components during finishing processes. Abrasive grain and finishing media includes many different products in categories such as coated abrasives, bonded abrasives, fast cutting abrasives, and waterproof abrasives.


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