Everything You Need to Know About the Abrasives on Grinding Wheels

The most important part of any grinder are the grinding wheels. While this is pretty common information that most people could have probably guessed, quite a few still don’t have all the information as to why this is. The obvious first things that you need to know about any wheel are that you need to match the speeds and sizes to the grinder itself, since not all wheels go with all grinders. However, a lot of people don’t actually realize how much of the user’s skill and the quality of the finished product is dependant on getting the right wheel for the job. 

The biggest difference between all of the available grinding wheels that you can get are the abrasives they use and which one of them should be used for which task because of this quality alone. It is no stretch to say that the abrasives play the most important part in the grinding process, but to know which one you need for which task, you first need to know a little more about their specific characteristics.


The most commonly used abrasive is probably aluminium oxide, and that is because it can come in many different types in order to best fit a particular type of grinding operation. It is best used on bronze, carbon steel, alloy steel, wrought iron and similar metals.

Zirconia alumina is another type of abrasive that can be made to fit a lot of different jobs depending on the amount of aluminium or zirconium oxide it contains. Its tougher and more durable nature makes it better for handling more demanding tasks and a large range of different steel and steel alloys.

Silicon carbine is a bit more limited than the previous options when it comes to the materials it can effectively handle, but that only makes it more ideal for the ones that it can. It is most commonly used if you are working with stone, aluminium, brass and softer metals in general.

Finally, there is the ceramic aluminium oxide abrasive which is claimed to be one of the best, thanks to the process which creates it and makes it exceptionally hard and strong and ideal for precision grinding. Usually it takes on the tougher materials that even the zirconia alumina can’t handle, and it can even be blended with different abrasives to make it better for certain tasks.

The last thing you need to keep in mind is that while all of these different abrasives have a certain list of materials they are best suited for, that doesn’t make them useless when it comes to handling materials that aren’t on said list. However, if you use an abrasive type for a task it isn’t all that well suited for, you are likely to end up with a rougher final result and the wheel itself will get worn out more quickly.