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How CBN Grinding Wheels Are Hard Enough for the Metalworking Industry
August 02, 2019

When it comes to the material of grinding wheels, not many come close to diamond with regards to its hardness – unless that material is a Cubic Boron Nitride (CBN) grinding wheel; the next hardest substance to diamond.


When tested at room temperatures, CBN hardness levels have averaged to a value of 4,500 kg/mm2, ranking it twice as hard as more conventional materials used in grinding wheels, and half as hard as diamond.  



Let us take a deeper dive into this fascinating material and how it has left its mark in metalworking:



How Is CBN Made?


Unlike diamond, CBN is not a naturally occurring material, and must be synthetically developed in a controlled environment that is capable of intermixing a small quantity of metal or ceramic, to improve crystal retention, with boron nitride at temperatures between 1730 - 3230°C, and pressures between 5 – 18 GPa for its formation.



Unique Characteristics of CBN


Due to the intrinsic properties of CBN being more inert, and less soluble, especially at high temperatures with materials such as nickel and cobalt based alloys, iron, and steel; CBN grinding wheel’s make for an extremely alluring material to use when machining materials of this kind as it will not carbonize, and are what make it known as a superabrasive.


Once a CBN grinding wheel has undergone truing and dressing, almost not further maintenance is required to keep them functioning longer than grinding wheels made from more conventional materials.


Most of this is owed to the crystalline structure of CBN abrasives. Firstly, its toughness (resistance to fracture), and hardness (resistance to penetration) are on equal grounding – allowing for self-sharpening to occur on its interface. Secondly, CBN has six, rather than the four found in diamond, cleavage planes, this allows for more control surrounding its degradation over time.


These properties all amalgamate to make CBN grinding wheels particularly suitable for a host of grinding solutions, including high efficiency grinding, and high precision grinding.



Fulfilling Your CBN Grinding Wheel Needs


We’ve been in the superabrasive tooling industry for over 50 years now at Graff Diamond Products, allowing us to amass clients in industry that span numerous, and diverse sectors – often looking for robust grinding solutions for famously tough materials.


Whether you need CBN and/or Diamond grinding wheels for saw sharpening, round tool manufacture, or even grinding pins - we’re sure to stock a standard spec item for your requirements. If not, our team of experts have the capacity to manufacture a custom product for your demands.


Get in touch to let our experts guide you to the right superabrasive tooling for you!

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