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3M Abrasive Mineral Types

Aluminum Oxide is the most common mineral used in sandpapers, grinding wheels, cut-off tools and other 3M abrasive products. A naturally-occurring crystalline mineral, it is very hard and resistant to heat.


Silicon carbide is used in wet or dry abrasives and fine-grade sandpapers. It is well suited to working on hard metals like cobalt, titanium and high nickel alloys. It is sharp, slender crystalline structure can generate less heat and a bright finish. Silicon carbide occurs rarely in nature and is usually man made. It is slightly harder than aluminum oxide, but is more brittle.


Cubitron™ II abrasives are comprised of precisely-shaped triangles of ceramic aluminum oxide. These self-sharpening triangles are designed to fracture as they wear, continuously forming new, super-sharp points and edges that slice cleanly through the metal like a knife, instead of gouging or plowing. This prevents heat from building up in the workpiece - reducing heat-related stress cracks and discoloration. And, because the abrasive itself stays cooler and sharper, it lasts up to four times as long as conventional ceramic grain abrasives.


Emery is a naturally-occurring abrasive made up of Aluminum Oxide and a variety of minerals. It is derived from sands or crushed rock.


Trizact™ is not an abrasive mineral, but a method of combining minerals in abrasives that makes them better. 3M™ Trizact™ Abrasives have three-dimensional structures with multiple layers of abrasive mineral. As these pyramid-like structures wear, fresh, sharp mineral is exposed. The result is a smoother cut and a more-consistent finish.

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