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PACE Technologies metallographic abrasive blades sectioning consumables
Metallographic Abrasive Cutting Consumables Information



Introduction

Metallographic Abrasive blades

The first step in preparing a specimen for metallographic or microstructural analysis is to locate the area of interest. Sectioning or cutting is the most common technique for obtaining this area of interest. Proper sectioning has the following characteristics:

DESIRABLE EFFECTS:
- Flat and cut close to the area of interest
- Minimal microstructural damage

UNDESIRABLE EFFECTS:
- Smeared (plastically deformed) metal
- Heat affected zones (burning during cutting)
- Excessive subsurface damage (cracking in ceramics)
- Damage to secondary phases (e.g. graphite flakes, nodules or grain pull-out)

The goal of any cutting operation is to maximize the desirable effects, while minimizing the undesirable effects.

Sectioning can be categorized as either abrasive cutting and precision wafer cutting. abrasive cutting is generally used for metal specimens and is accomplished with silicon carbide or alumina abrasives in either a resin or resin-rubber bond. Proper blade selection is required to minimize burning and heat generation during cutting, which degrades both the specimen surface as well as the abrasive blades cutting efficiency. Wafer cutting is achieved with very thin precision blades. The most common wafering blades are rim-pressed abrasive blades, in which the abrasive is located along the edge or rim of the blade. Precision wafering blades most commonly use diamond abrasives, however cubic boron nitride (CBN) is also used for cutting samples that react to dull diamond (e.g. high carbon, heat treated steels cut more effectively with CBN as compared to diamond). Wafer cutting is especially useful for cutting electronic materials, ceramics and minerals, bone, composites and even some metallic materials.


PACE Technologies metallographic abrasive blades sectioning consumables
Abrasive Blade Selection Guidelines

Selecting the correct abrasive blade is dependent upon the design of the cut-off machine and, to a large extent, the operator preference. Abrasive blades are generally characterized by their abrasive type, bond type and hardness. Determining the correct blade is dependent upon the material or metal hardness and whether it is a ferrous or a nonferrous metal. In practice, it often comes down to odor and blade life. Resin/rubber blades smell more because the rubber will burn slightly during cutting, however resin/rubber blades do not wear as fast and therefore last longer. On the other hand, resin blades are more versatile and do not produce a burnt rubber odor, but they do break down faster. Resin blades also provide a modestly better cut because the cutting abrasive is continually renewed and thus produces a cleaner cut.

Also note that the traditional “older” technology for producing abrasive blades resulted in very specialized resin/rubber blades. Finding the proper resin/rubber hardness, abrasive size, and blade thickness to match the sample properties and the cutting machine parameter required a lot of testing and experimentation. Thus, in the past, resin/rubber blades had been more popular in the US market; however, in more recent years as resins have improved, there has been more of a trend towards resin bonded abrasives. Conversely, resin bonded blades have typically been more widely used in the European and Asian markets for quite some time.

Summary:
Material Composition Recommended Blade Blade Image
Soft non-ferrous metals
(aluminum, brass, zinc, etc.)
Alumina/ resin bonded MAX-E Metallographic Abrasive Blades
Hard non-ferrou metals
(titanium, zirconium, etc.)
Silicon carbide / resin-rubber bond MAX-C Metallographic Abrasive Blades
Soft steels Alumina/ resin bonded MAX-E Metallographic Abrasive Blades
Hard and case hardened steels Alumina/ resin bonded MAX-VHS Metallographic Abrasive Blades
General purpose blade for
steels and ferrous metals
Alumina/ resin bonded MAX-D Metallographic Abrasive Blades
Universal thin resin/rubber blade Alumina / resin-rubber bond MAX-A Metallographic Abrasive Blades
Industrial general purpose thin blade Alumina / resin-rubber bond MAX-I Metallographic Abrasive Blades

PACE Technologies metallographic abrasive blades sectioning consumables
Abrasive Cutting Process Description

Abrasive sectioning has primarily been used for sectioning ductile materials. Examples include metals, plastics, polymer matrix composites, metal matrix composites, plastics and rubbers. The proper selection of an abrasive blade requires an understanding of the relationship between the abrasive particle, abrasive bonding and the specimen properties.

Abrasive Type - Today's high performance abrasive blades use alumina or silicon carbide abrasives. Alumina is a moderately hard and relatively tough abrasive which makes it ideal for cutting ferrous metals. Silicon carbide is a very hard abrasive which fractures and cleaves very easily. Thus, silicon carbide is a self-sharpening abrasive and is more commonly used for cutting nonferrous metals.

Bonding Material - The hardness and wear characteristics of the sample determine which resin system is the best-suited for abrasive cutting. In general, the optimum bonding material is one that breaks down at the same rate as the abrasive dulls; thus, exposing new abrasives for the most efficient and effective cutting operation.

Cutting coated samples - maintain coating in compression
PACE Technologies metallographic abrasive blades sectioning consumables
Recommended Abrasive Cutting Procedures

  • Select the appropriate abrasive blade.
  • Secure specimen. Improper clamping may result in blade and/or specimen damage.
  • Check coolant level and replace when low or excessively dirty. Note abrasive blades break down during cutting and thus produce a significant amount of debris.
  • Allow the abrasive blade to reach its operating speed before beginning the cut.
  • A steady force or light pulsing action will produce the best cuts and minimize blade wear characteristics, as well as maintain sample integrity (no burning).
  • When sectioning materials with coatings, orient the specimen so that the blade is cutting into the coating and exiting out of the base material, thereby keeping the coating in compression.

PACE Technologies metallographic abrasive blades sectioning consumables
Cutting Fluids

Lubrication and swarf removal during abrasive cutting and diamond wafer cutting are required in order to minimize damage to the specimen. For some older abrasive cutters, the proper cutting fluid can also have the added benefit of coating cast iron bases and the fixtures in order to reduce or eliminate corrosion.

TIP: Most abrasive cutters have a hood, which can produce a corrosive humidity chamber when not in use. In order to reduce these corrosive effects, keep the hood open when not in use.

Abrasive Cutting Fluid - The ideal cutting fluid for abrasive cutting is one that removes the cutting swarf and degraded abrasive blade material. It should have a relatively high flash point because of the sparks produced during abrasive sectioning.


Abrasive Sectioning Troubleshooting

Symptom Cause Action
Chipped or broken blade -Secure sample properly-
-Reduce cutting force
-Secure sample properly
-Reduce cutting force
Bluish burnt color on specimen -Incorrect cutting fluid
-Improper blade or excessive force
-Use proper cutting fluid
-Consult applications guideline
or use a blade with a softer resin


PACE Technologies metallographic abrasive blades sectioning consumables
Abrasive Blade Product Descriptions

Abrasive Blades (32 mm / 1.25-inch arbor) (Qty 10 per package)
Description 10-inch 12-inch 14-inch 16-inch
Soft non-ferrous materials
(aluminum, brass, zinc, etc.)
MAX-E250 MAX-E300 MAX-E350 MAX-E400
Hard non-ferrous materials
(titanium, zirconium, etc.)
MAX-C250 MAX-C300 MAX-C350 MAX-C400
Soft steels MAX-E250 MAX-E300 MAX-E350 MAX-E400
Hard and case hardened steels MAX-VHS250 MAX-VHS300 MAX-VHS350 MAX-VHS400
General steels and ferrous metals MAX-D250T MAX-D300 MAX-D350 MAX-D400
Universal Thin Blade MAX-A250 MAX-A300 MAX-A350 MAX-A400
Industrial general purpose thin blade MAX-I250 MAX-I300 MAX-I350 MAX-I400


PACE Technologies metallographic abrasive blades sectioning consumables


Abrasive Cutting Fluid
Description Quantity Part No. Product
MAXCUT Cutting Fluid (32 oz) 32 oz MAXCUT-1000-32 Product Image
MAXCUT Cutting Fluid (1/2 gallon) 1/2 gallon MAXCUT-1000-64 Product Image
MAXCUT Cutting Fluid (1 gallon) 1 gallon MAXCUT-1000-128 Product Image
MAXCUT Cutting Fluid (5 gallons) 5 gallons MAXCUT-1000-5G Product Image

Description Quantity Part No. Product
MAXCUT 2 Cutting Fluid (with corrosion inhibitor ) (32 oz) 32 oz MAXCUT2-1000-32 Product Image
MAXCUT 2 Cutting Fluid (with corrosion inhibitor ) (1/2 gallon) 1/2 gallon MAXCUT2-1000-64 Product Image
MAXCUT 2 Cutting Fluid (with corrosion inhibitor ) (1 gallon) 1 gallon MAXCUT2-1000-128 Product Image
MAXCUT 2 Cutting Fluid (with corrosion inhibitor ) (5 gallons) 5 gallons MAXCUT2-1000-5G Product Image

Description Quantity Part No. Product
MAXCUT OL1000 Water Soluble Emulsion Cutting Fluid (32 oz) 32 oz MAXCUT-OL-1000-32 Product Image
MAXCUT OL1000 Water Soluble Emulsion Cutting Fluid (1/2 gallon) 1/2 gallon MAXCUT-OL-1000-64 Product Image
MAXCUT OL1000 Water Soluble Emulsion Cutting Fluid (32 oz) 1 gallon MAXCUT-OL-1000-128 Product Image
MAXCUT OL1000 Water Soluble Emulsion Cutting Fluid (32 oz) 5 gallons MAXCUT-OL-1000-5G Product Image

PACE Technologies metallographic abrasive blades sectioning consumables

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PACE Technologies
3601 E. 34th St.
Tucson, Arizona 85713
+1-520-882-6598
FAX +1-520-882-6599
email: pace@metallographic.com
www.metallographic.com


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