Silicon Carbide Vs Aluminum Oxide

Aluminum oxide (Al2O3) is an affordable, versatile, and long-term blasting option, and works well on multiple materials such as metal and wood.

Aluminum oxide comes in brown, white and pink variants to meet different levels of durability and create smoother finishes. White and pink variants deteriorate faster than brown varieties but work great with soft woods and metals.

Hardness

Silicon carbide (SiC) is a tough and long-wearing abrasive material available in varying grit sizes for polishing metals, glass, marble and wood surfaces; deburring rust removal; wood refinishing as well as wet sanding applications.

Hard and sharp surfaces such as automotive surfaces benefit most from using these stones; their hardness and sharpness make them well suited to automotive polishing applications, for instance. Softer woods or coatings should not use these as they could become overly aggressive and cause damage; furthermore, its shape and friability may lead to unintended scratches as it fractures into long and pointed grains that leave lasting scars behind.

Fused alumina (also known as aluminum oxide) is tough and durable material used for nonmetallic abrasives such as ceramics and electronics, due to its high melting point, electrical insulating properties, chemical stability, resistance against corrosion and wet sanding suitability. Unfortunately it doesn’t hold its edge quite as well when sanding materials with high tensile strengths; wear is more noticeable.

Durability

Silicon carbide may possess harder and sharper grains, yet is less durable than aluminum oxide due to its fragile and narrow shape, which wears down quickly over time.

Aluminum oxide offers a more resilient grain structure with long lasting results than S/C, making it perfect for use on various materials such as titanium. Furthermore, its non-contaminating nature makes it popular in aerospace applications as well as for use when sanding metals such as titanium.

Professional woodworkers use aluminum oxide or silicon carbide abrasives depending on the hardness and desired finish of their wood. Aluminum oxide is typically preferred when smooth finishes are desired; silicon carbide may be better suited for more intricate, decorative projects or delicate detail work. Both abrasives can be used wet or dry sanding conditions; however silicon carbide stands out by resisting clogging better and keeping its cutting power for extended periods of time.

Sharpness

Silicon carbide is both harder and sharper than aluminum oxide, making it the perfect material to work on surfaces that may be difficult to access. Its razor-sharp grains allow easy cutting of glass, plastic and medium density fiberboard with light pressure; however it cannot cut metals or hard woods.

Alumina abrasive is more durable, so its wear and tear wear down more slowly over time, which means more frequent replacement is necessary than with other options. Although still suitable for general blasting applications, ceramic requires more frequent replacement than its peers.

Choose between silicon carbide and fused alumina when selecting an abrasive for your next project, depending on its material, desired finish, size and scope. Because both products differ considerably in composition and properties, each type should be used appropriately – aluminum oxide may be better suited to rough metal, wood and painted surfaces while silicon carbide will perform best on soft surfaces like leather.

Applications

Silicon carbide finds application in ceramic materials and hard non-metals. Additionally, it is an acclaimed choice for polishing metal due to its non-aggressive nature – no excessive heat generated, nor any buildup of particles under the surface contaminant the workpiece’s finish.

Silicon carbide’s sharp, harder abrasive grains allow it to cut glass, plastic and medium-density fiberboard with ease when used under light pressure, but cannot easily cut metal or hardwoods due to its brittle nature and narrower shape. Furthermore, aluminum oxide retains its cutting edges under heavier loads due to being more resilient.

Aluminum Oxide is the go-to finish material for wood sanding applications, thanks to its longer lifespan and ability to withstand high temperatures. Aluminum oxide dust may irritate eyes and respiratory systems when inhaled in high concentrations; proper ventilation and protective gear must therefore be in place when working with this material.

Scroll to Top