April 04, 2022

Which Cutting Grains are Best for Fiber Discs?

Fiber discs are extremely versatile grinding discs made from a vulcanized fiber backing that has been coated with abrasive cutting grains. Fitted to a rigid backing pad, fiber discs are typically used on angle grinders for machining metal. 

Fiber discs are more physically flexible than grinding wheels, typically making them somewhat less aggressive. However, it also makes them incredibly adaptable. The adaptability of fiber discs is further enhanced by their compatibility with a wide range of different cutting grains and backing pad types which can be tailored to specific application areas. As a result, fiber discs are suitable for a particularly wide range of grinding jobs, from heavy-duty stock removal and weld-seam removal right through to surface blending and finishing applications.1 

Compared to grinding discs, fiber discs have shorter service lives and are relatively sensitive to environmental conditions such as moisture and temperature. However, the advantages are usually enough to make up for this. Fiber discs offer fine and uniform abrasion, resulting in a high-quality surface finish that requires much less cleaning up. They’re also much less expensive than grinding wheels. 

The combination of versatility, adaptability and finish quality make fiber discs one of the most popular industrial abrasive products. 

The Ideal Fiber Disc Cutting Grains 

As with most coated abrasive products, fiber discs can be coated with a variety of different abrasive cutting grains to suit various applications. Because fiber discs are coated rather than bonded, they typically only have a single layer of cutting grains on their surfaces. It’s therefore particularly important that the chosen cutting grains are robust and hard-wearing: once they’re no longer sharp, the disc must be replaced. 

Ceramic grains like alumina and alumina-zirconia are among the most popular cutting grains for fiber discs, thanks to their extreme hardness and resilience. However, when comparing different cutting grains, the chemical composition (alumina or alumina-zirconia, for example) is not the only important factor. In fact, the physical nature of the cutting grains also has a huge influence on the end performance of the fiber disc.2 The shape, crystal structure and size distribution of the cutting grains all play independent and crucial roles in abrasive performance. 

Saint-Gobain ceramic cutting grains are engineered to provide unparalleled performance in coated applications. Produced via a unique seeded-gel process, Cerpass XTL® and Cerpass DGE® cutting grains consist of extremely uniform sub-micron crystals.3 Where other cutting grains rapidly become dull or break off at the bonding point, our advanced ceramic cutting grains are instead intentionally designed to undergo nanoscale stress fracturing. This exposes new, sharp cutting edges: Rather than become dull, Saint-Gobain cutting grains actually become sharper, extending the life of the fiber disc and offering consistent abrasion. 

To find out more about how our Cerpass® seeded-gel cutting grains are revolutionizing fiber discs and other bonded abrasives, get in touch with the Saint-Gobain Abrasive Materials team today. With manufacturing sites in the United States, China, and France; Saint-Gobain Abrasive Materials supplies advanced abrasive cutting grains to customers worldwide. We form strong partnerships and work closely with our customers to develop unique solutions to challenging problems. 


References and Further Reading 

1. Saint-Gobain | Norton Right Angle Grinder Solutions. https://www.nortonabrasives.com/sga-common/files/document/Norton_RAG_brochure_Web_0120.pdf

2. Pulgarin, H. L. C. & Albano, M. P. Three different alumina–zirconia composites: Sintering, microstructure and mechanical properties. Materials Science and Engineering: A 639, 136–144 (2015). 

3. (Subbu) Subramanian, K., Ramesh Babu, N., Jain, A. & Vairamuthu, R. Microscopic Interactions in Surface Generation Processes Using Abrasive Tools. Journal of Manufacturing Science and Engineering 139, 121016 (2017).