There are a lot of different abrasive grain types and each job may require different abrasive material. This particular abrasive grain is the newest material created for the abrasive industry. Ceramic alumina is not found in nature. It is what you call a an artificial or manufactured abrasive since it’s been created through man-made/scientific means. Through this innovation, ceramics have been found to be a superior abrasive for many applications.
Ceramic abrasives are some of the strongest and sharpest abrasives currently on the market.
Ceramics are a friable abrasive, meaning that as the product is being used, tiny pieces of the grit will fracture off exposing fresh sharp material. This helps the ceramic abrasives constantly renew the surface to provide a consistent cutting and grinding action for a longer period of time.
Ceramic sandpaper and other abrasives are strong enough to cut and grind most metal surfaces such as carbon steel, aerospace alloys, titanium alloy, aluminum, ferrous metals, and nonferrous metals.
When you use it on superalloys and stainless steel it will perform better than most other abrasives. Ceramic will not dull as quickly due to its extreme toughness and self-sharpening abilities. That level of toughness will allow ceramic abrasives to provide outstanding grinding and finishing performance on a variety of different hard metals.
Ceramic abrasives have become a favourite among knifemakers, auto body workers, and metal fabricators. It is commonly used in aerospace applications as well as blasting, blending, burnishing, cleaning, surface preparation, and abrasive jet cutting to name a few.
The short answer is yes, but…
It is best used on wood when you need rapid wood removal as it will not develop smooth surfaces. It is only good for roughing out and quick material removal. A lot of our customers who use wood as their medium use our ceramic sanding discs in the 8” model with the cloth backing. You will not see the ceramic perform to the best of its abilities when used on wood.
Wood is also not hard enough to allow the ceramic to renew and resharpen its grains. Wood itself is not hard enough to allow you to take advantage of the life-extending friability feature of these abrasives.
Absolutely! Ceramics have been slowly being adopted and used in many trades and is growing to be a favorite among bladesmiths as they can get so much use out of one ceramic belt as it lasts so much longer than both aluminum oxide and zirconia and can handle exotic metals. We have a wide selection depending on your personal knifemaking setup, but our 1” x 30” ceramic belts and 2” x 42” sanding belts are very popular in the knife maker community.
Abrasive ceramics are best used to grind and cut away other softer material. It’s hardness and resistance to wear are unparalleled. That hardness is considered to be necessary so that the abrasive does not shatter during the grinding process. The grain self-renews with micro-fractures. As you use the abrasive, it will break down into smaller razor-sharp pieces multiple times over before it finally dulls.
Although ceramic can be used for roughing out wood, it does perform best on hard metals. They are commonly used in deburring, deflashing, descaling, stripping, fast cutting, intermediate cutting, aggressive material removal, grinding, and ball milling to name a few.
Long-lasting – can last up to 6x longer than other abrasive grain types
Friable abrasive – self-sharpening to continue working with consistent grinding and cutting
Low-pressure application – does not require the operator to exert as much pressure as other abrasives due to unique sharpness and hardness of the grains
Low temperature – generates much lower heat than the majority of the alternatives.
The cost of ceramic is generally at least 50% higher than most other abrasive grains. However, it will deliver between two and four times the performance over aluminum oxide or zirconia. When you are deciding on which abrasive is right for it is important to separate the price and the cost. The price may be higher with ceramic abrasives, but the total cost of the job (product + time + labor) will be substantially less.
Another factor to consider is the long life of the ceramic abrasives. They generally last up to 6 times longer than their alternatives, meaning you won’t need to buy replacements nearly as often.
Ceramic, like zirconia, comes in the coarser grits from as low as 24 to as high as 120. Ceramic is meant, as mentioned earlier, to remove the softer material and is only available in the coarser grains.
As ceramic is being adopted more and more as a superior abrasive by more people, it is being implement in more abrasive products. Ceramic can be found in pressure-sensitive adhesive discs (PSA), quick change discs, sanding belts in a variety of sizes, resin fiber discs, and ceramic flap discs. We are continually adding more ceramic-based abrasives to our line of products to keep up with all of our customers’ needs.
If you are unsure if ceramics are right for you, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. We know how difficult it can be when a few products may work for you and we’re here to help guide you as best we can. Please feel free to reach out to one of our experts at Empire Abrasives, 1-800-816-3824. Whether you are experienced or a novice — we are always happy to lend a helping hand.