Fine Grinding

Silicon Carbide (SiC) paper is the traditional method used for fine grinding and is adequate when used properly. SiC paper blunts quickly and therefore should be discarded after a short period of grinding in order to maintain efficient 'stock' removal. Grinding on a surface that has blunt abrasives causes a great deal of surface damage by smearing, 'burnishing' and local heating.

Fine Grinding
Note: Image by courtesy of Oxford Instruments.

Ensure that sharp abrasives are used and follow the manufacturers instructions with regard to grinding speeds, direction, force, times and lubricants used. Damage injected during grinding may be invisible in the polished surface. Remember that different materials have different abrasion characteristics. The selection of grinding material and conditions can therefore be specific to a given sample.

After every grinding stage it is advisable to inspect the ground surface using a light microscope in order to ensure that all damage from the previous stage, whether that be a cutting or grinding stage, is completely removed. Advance in this manner to the finest abrasive size required, ready for polishing. Care at this stage will greatly reduce the amount of polishing required to achieve a good surface.

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