What are Types of Abrasives?

Abrasive is a tool used for shaping or giving a fine finish to the workpiece by rubbing. By doing this, the friction wears away some part of workpiece. It can also do the detailing of a workpiece, i.e. polishing to get a silky, smooth and shiny surface. Users can obtain various types of finishes like satin, matte or beaded finishes. In short, the abrasive is a form of ceramic used for cutting, grinding and polishing other softer materials. It is commonly used in industrial, domestic and technological applications. Along with cutting and grinding, users can perform buffing, honing, drilling, sharpening, lapping and sanding using these abrasives.

Abrasives are widely classified as -

  • Natural Abrasives - Calcite, Diamond, Iron oxide, Sand, Sandstone, and powdered feldspar.
  • Synthetic Abrasives - Borazon, ceramic, aluminum oxide, dry ice, glass powder, steel abrasive, silicon carbide, and slags.
  • Bonded Abrasives - These abrasives are composed of an abrasive material that is contained within the matrix.
  • Coated Abrasives - These abrasives consist of backing material like paper, cloth, etc. Coated with abrasive material.

All Types of Abrasives:

Cut Off Wheels - It is also known as parting or self-sharpening wheel. It is mostly used on materials like metal, stone, concrete, etc. It is known for fast and comfortable cutting and has a long life. It is ideally used for metal fabrication, maintenance, repair and general industrial applications. Based on the shape, size, type, and grit-number of abrasive, users can decide which cut off wheel is suitable for the workpiece. Reinforced, depressed center and thin cutting wheels are its standard types.

Cut Off Wheels

Mounted Points - It is the form of small grinding wheels bonded over a mandrel. It comes in different shapes and sizes, abrasive grains, rubberized and felt material. Mounted point abrasive is mainly used for deburring application in the foundry industry. It is suitable for detailing and finishing in congested areas like in-between machine gears. It is combined with a die grinder, straight shaft grinder or hand-held rotary tools.

Sand-Paper Sheets - It is also known as Glass-paper. It is mostly used for removing material from wood, metal or other surfaces to make them smooth for painting and varnishing. It can remove old paint or glue. The sand paper sheets can be used for both industrial and DIY projects. It can be used for both hand sanding and power sanding. Emery, Zirconium Alumina, Ceramic Alumina, Aluminum oxide and garnet are different types of sanding paper.

Grinding Wheels - It is a wheel composed of an abrasive compound and is used for grinding, abrasive cutting, abrasive machining operations. It is designed for working with grinding machines. Grinding wheels are either made up of solid steel or aluminum. Some of its types include - straight wheel, cylinder ring, tapered type, dish cup, diamond-type, cut off type and saucer type. Abrasive grains are held together in the machine using various bonding materials like resinoid, silicate, rubber, and metal.

Grinding Wheels

Diamond Grinding Cup Wheels - It is a metal-bonded diamond tool with a diamond segment welded or cold-pressed on a wheel body. It is usually mounted on concrete grinders to grind materials like concrete, granite and marble. Sometimes it has double row segments for quick material removal. Cup wheels are suitable for both wet and dry concrete grinding, levelling or concrete removal.

Sand & Fiber Discs - Sanding disc is a circular disc used for removing material, light defects, corrosion, paint, rust from wood, metal or plastic surfaces. It has a coarse grit that helps in removing welds on metal, mill marks on wood, and even outs the edges.

Sand Discs

Fiber disc - It is a round grinding wheel with a backing made of vulcanized fiber. It is coated on one side with resin and abrasive grain. It is fitted with a backing pad and coupled with an angle grinder. Fiber disc is commonly used for machining metal.

Fiber disc

Polishing Pads - It is used to remove minor scratches and dents from the car and truck. It is generally used to buff out the damage and add up the shine to the surface. It comes in different finishes, shape, style and size. The pad is to be used with the polishing compound to get desirable results.

Flap discs - It is specially used for metal finishing, welding, machining, industrial maintenance and food production. It is made up of multiple overlapping small pieces of flaps bonded to a central hub. The flaps are made up of polyester or polycotton material. The various parameters to consider while selecting the flap disc are shape, backing plate material, flap density and flap grit size.

Flap discs

Cutting Blades and Discs - Cutting blades are used for cutting tasks. It is used for cutting different materials like wood, metal, and hard minerals. It can be classified based on the shape of the edges.

Cutting Blades

Cutting disc - It is an expandable tool used with an angle grinder for cutting various materials. It is a round, thin and flat disc that has a synthetic resin as a binder.

Cutting disc

Abrasive Papers - It is glass paper used as a type of abrasive coating that consists of a sheet of paper or cloth, fiber, film or another backing with abrasive material. Aluminum oxide and silicon carbide, emery are the types of abrasive paper. These abrasive papers are used for deburring, polishing, paint removal, corrosion removal, sizing, etc.

Abrasive Papers

Cloth Rolls - It is preferred for flexible and fast cutting. It can be cut to the required length and provide hand sanding ability in intricate areas for removal, blending and finishing application. The cloth roll is mostly used in the manufacturing industry and handicraft sector. It offers a smooth and silky finish to the workpiece. It is durable and can withstand heavy use. It has a synthetic resin bonding that improves the life of cloth roll.

Cloth Rolls

Buffing Wheels - It is also known as a polishing wheel. It is used for finishing those workpiece materials that are sensitive to scratching or marring. Users can use it on flat surfaces or curved surfaces. It gives a smooth and bright finish. The wheel is made up of multiple layers of soft materials like cotton, flannel, etc. It has an internal hole for arbor mounting or an integrated shank.

PVA Sponges - It is a synthetic material that is lint-free and resists both mold and mildew. PVA sponge is better than a normal sponge or towel. It has high absorbing power, and thus it offers a quick and effective drying. It prevents water spots on all surfaces. The sponge expands when wet and compresses when dry. Also, it is resistant to many chemicals.

PVA Sponges


The motive of presenting this article is, to sum up, the categorization of abrasives and simplify its classification. It gives you the brief idea of each abrasive & uses to relate it with your application. It will save not only your time but also the efforts that you put in research work for finding the suitable abrasive type. Also, you can find these abrasives online of high-quality brands at affordable price rates. To know more kindly click here. ‌‌

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