The Diamond Grinding Wheel

Grinding wheels have a myriad of uses, which include polishing, shaping, and
sharpening a variety of materials. At their most basic, they are wheels, which
are encrusted with, or composed entirely of an abrasive substance. The spinning
of the wheel can remove small pieces of softer substances and are capable of
everything from sanding to completely crushing a given piece of material
depending on the job. While conventional wheels consisting of Aluminum Oxide or
Silicon Carbide are more than capable of tackling most jobs, occasionally very
hard materials will need to be ground up, or else a low grind temperature will
need to be maintained; for these special jobs, diamond grinding wheels are
required as a result of their geological make up and properties.

Properties of Diamonds

Diamonds themselves are remarkable. They are nature's hardest substance by a
considerable margin. Diamonds are four times harder than the next closest
naturally occurring material (corundum) and can cut through glass, steel,
concrete, and just about anything else man has been able to concoct. Diamonds
are capable of withstanding incredible amounts of heat, and in fact, they were
forged in the hottest parts of the Earth's mantle. They are capable of
withstanding temperatures of almost seven thousand degrees Fahrenheit, which is
the highest known melting point of any naturally occurring substance. Aside
from the extremely rare metal Osmium, they are also able to withstand more
compression than anything else in nature. In short, the gem, is used as the
workhorse of the grinding industry because it is absolutely unique in its
properties, and functions better than anything else.

How are Diamonds Used on a Grinding Wheel?

When processed for industrial use, diamonds are either welded to, or otherwise
bonded to a conventional grinding wheel. The diamond grinding wheel is then
capable of dealing cutting or grinding through materials that would have
previously been too hard to cope with, including ceramics, gemstones, and
carbide. While a wheel devoid of diamonds is potentially capable of breaking
these materials apart, they cannot do so with any form of accuracy, and the
wear upon the wheel itself is substantial. Cutting gemstones with a non-diamond
encrusted wheel would be similar to trying to cut a cake with a hammer. The
result is sloppy. The only material that can produce a satisfactory cut or
grind is that of the diamond. For larger projects, a regular grinding wheel can
also be used to break apart chunks of concrete, but again, the wear on
non-diamond materials is substantial.

An additional benefit of diamonds is a result of friction; other, softer
materials, when ground against something hard tend to create a tremendous
amount of heat due to the friction caused. Much like cutting a stick with a
dull knife requires time, lots of sawing, and by extension, lots of friction,
using softer materials to cut hard substances takes longer and generates more
heat. By virtue of hardness, diamonds cut faster and cleaner, thus reducing
friction and heat, a desirable feature if the material being cut has a low
melting point.

Diamond grinding wheels play a tremendous role in specialty
grinding projects as a result of their unique and fascinating properties.


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