The Three Important Elements Of Choosing A Grinding Wheel

15 December 2016
 Categories: , Blog

Choosing a grinding wheel system is somewhat of a complex process. Typically, the focus is on the abrasive and bond material used and the speed of the wheel. Make sure to understand how each of these functions work together so that you can make a more informed selection.


Start your search by focusing on the abrasive style used on the wheel. Abrasives can be compared based their level of hardness, impact resistance, and strength. Common abrasive styles include zirconia alumina, aluminum oxide, and silicon carbide. What types of materials you plan to work with will generally offer the best indication as to which abrasive you should select.

Zirconia alumina is made from a zirconium and aluminum mixture, making it a highly-durable option for rough applications like steel alloy. Aluminum oxide is considered middle of the range and can accommodate materials like bronze and wrought iron. Silicon carbide is best for softer applications like non-ferrous metals.  

Bond Material

For the abrasive to be effective during the grinding process, it must remain stationary. Bonding material is used to accomplish this. When selecting a bonding material, focus on precision and the makeup of the abrasive. In terms of precision, the higher the level of accuracy necessary during the grinding process, the more you want to lean towards a vitrified bond. These bonds are carefully molded to match the exact texture of the abrasive.

When it comes to the makeup of the abrasive, it's important that the bonding material wear away at the same rate as the abrasive. If the abrasive wears faster than the bonding material, the surface will be too smooth to grind.


All wheels operate at different speeds. The speed of the wheel generally denotes the amount of surface feet that be grounded per minute. The higher the speed, the greater the grinding area covered per minute. When making this selection, one would assume that the larger the surface area you plan to work with, the higher the speed of the wheel should be.   

However, you need to select a speed based on the makeup of the bonding material you selected. For example, if you need a more precise grinding application and you have selected a vitrified bond, you don't want to choose a high-speed wheel. When used at high speeds this type of bond can break, so you would need to work with a slower application.

Choosing a grinding wheel is somewhat like putting together a puzzle in that every part selection must fit together perfectly. Failure to remember this can result in a grinding system that isn't efficient at meeting your needs.