Getting to Know Cut-Off and Grinding Wheels. Silicon carbide grinding wheel

Getting to Know Cut-Off and Grinding Wheels (Type 1 Cut-Off Wheels and Type 27 Grinding Wheels)

What are grinding wheels? Grinding wheels are bonded abrasive wheels that are designed to cut or grind steel and other materials. They contain specially sized abrasive grain and layers of fiberglass reinforcement sheet pressed into a wheel form then baked at high temperatures. Grinding wheels are used on a wide range of tools, including right angle grinders and cut-off saws.

getting, know, cut-off, grinding, wheels, silicon


The hard and tough abrasive grains grind different types of materials. Each grinding wheel is made to cut or grind specific materials. It is important to choose the right tool for the job.

Abrasive grain on grinding wheels can vary in size and type and can also be combined for matching the cutting properties to the application. Abrasive grains fracture during use which constantly exposes newer, sharper edges. The way a specific grain fractures is important to maximize productivity, minimize overheating or increase the life of the abrasive product. The main abrasive grains used in bonded abrasive wheels are listed below.

  • Ceramic alumina: Micro-fracturing creates an abrasive wheel that is self-sharpening. Micro-fracturing ensures relatively cool temperatures during use. Products using ceramic alumina have a superior life comparison to other abrasive products. Since lower temperatures are maintained during grinding, the result is minimal heat discoloration. Use ceramic alumina on tool steel, stainless steel, armored steel, titanium, hard nickel alloys, Inconel and other hard-to-grind metals.
  • Alumina Zirconia: When working with metal, you need a fast cut and long blade life. Alumina zirconia is tough, hard, and self-sharpening. The result is consistent, productive cutting, especially on steel and stainless steel. This grain is well known for holding up under extreme temperatures and high pressures.
  • Alumina zirconia blended with ceramic alumina: The result of this combination is faster cutting but with less effort.
  • White aluminum oxide: White aluminum oxide is a friable specialty grinding material. It fractures at lower pressures at lower temperatures. It is used for specialty applications such as die grinding and for use on tungsten carbide, brass, and non-ferrous metals.
  • Aluminum oxide: For cutting steel and other ferrous metals use a cut-off wheel made with brown aluminum oxide. This general-purpose abrasive grain is hard, tough, and durable for a sharp, fast initial cut and holds up to higher pressure applications. It takes higher pressures to fracture aluminum oxide than it does other grains. Compared with premium abrasives, A/O bonded abrasive wheels will get the job done but may not last as long as wheels made with premium abrasives. Bonded abrasive wheels with brown aluminum oxide offer value and cost-effectiveness combined with quality and consistent performance.
  • Silicon carbide: At nearly the hardness of diamond, silicon carbide is very hard and sharp. It is used for fast cutting of stone, concrete, block, brick, and asphalt. It is not as tough as other grains due to its friability, but it is the right mineral for the previously mentioned applications. It is often used to cut soft, non-ferrous metals such as aluminum, copper, and brass. It is also used to cut PVC pipe quickly.
  • Silicon carbide/aluminum oxide blend: Formulated specifically for extended life and fast, consistent cut rates on ductile iron. The blend of aluminum oxide and silicon carbide will give you the best results in this tough application. This blend is a balance between the hardness of silicon carbide and the toughness of aluminum oxide. It is often the choice for use on PVC water pipes.


The bond is the substance that binds the abrasive grain and the fiberglass reinforcement together. Material used for the bond is typically resinoid (phenolic resin). Phenolic resin provides a strong bond that withstands the high heat of grinding and cutting. Virginia Abrasives’ bonded wheels use a resinoid bond. For specialized applications, there are a wide range of bonds. Bonds can range from shellac, resinoid, rubber, or glass, glass-ceramic (vitrified)

The bond can range from hard to soft. A harder bond increases the life of the product, with correct operation and maintenance. A softer bond wears away and exposes new abrasive grains more quickly It allows for consistent cutting of hard materials. When you choose the grinding wheel, you need to consider the properties of material that is being cut to match with performance of the wheel.

The grinding wheel’s bond provides a consistent cut rate by exposing new grains over time. The grain particles fracture as they become worn, which is what they are designed to do. This process exposes new abrasive surfaces, and the duller particles worn away in the grinding process. Fracturing of abrasive particles maintains the wheel’s cut-rate and performance.


Virginia Abrasives offers two types of grinding wheels, Type 1 and Type 27:

  • Type 1 cut-off wheels are flat and thin. They are perfect for use on high-speed cut-off saws for cutting metal or concrete. Virginia Abrasives Type 1 grinding wheels feature aluminum oxide or silicon carbide abrasive grains, to provide optimum performance, life, and consistent cut rates. Type 1 wheels are specifically designed for cutting. Side grinding on a Type 1 wheel is forbidden and dangerous.
  • Type 27 grinding wheels differ from Type 1 in that they have a depressed center that allows for clearance when the operator must work at an angle, usually from 0 to 45 degrees, but the optimal angle for a Type 27 grinding wheel is 25 to 30 degrees. Type 27 wheels are used for surface, edge grinding and surface contouring.


We carry four types of grinding and cut-off wheels based on the material they are designed to cut; Metal, Concrete, Asphalt and Ductile.

  • Virginia Abrasives’ METAL cutting wheels are composed of aluminum oxide abrasive grain and use a medium hard resinoid bond material for superior performance.
  • Our CONCRETE cutting wheels are composed of silicon carbide abrasive grains and employ a medium-hard resinoid bond to increase the abrasive performance on the concrete surface.
  • ASPHALT Blades are composed of a blend of silicon carbide and aluminum oxide with a hard resinoid bond to resist the abrasive nature of asphalt.
  • DUCTILE Blades are composed of a blend of aluminum oxide and silicon carbide with a medium-hard resinoid bond.

All grinding wheels are marked with recommended applications and warnings for safe use. Be sure to read and follow the instructions. Please see our Safety Dos and Don’ts While with Cut-Off and Grinding Wheels


What is a grinding wheel? Grinding wheels contain abrasive grains and layers of fiberglass bonded into a wheel shape by another substance. The abrasive grains act as grinding tools, removing material from a workpiece to shape and refine it. Grinding wheels are useful in many grinding and machining operations.

Several types of grinding wheels are available, so when a facility is choosing a wheel, it’s essential to consider the specifications of contrasting styles and how well they can handle different environments and operational challenges. In this guide to grinding wheels, we discuss a few grinding wheel types, as well as their materials, design and benefits for specific applications.


Grinding wheels — along with other more portable grinding products like cones and plugs — come in various styles. Selecting the right type of wheel for a given application allows users to get demanding metal fabrication jobs done quickly and accurately.

There are three main types of grinding wheels, where various numbers differentiate between wheels with specific properties and uses — type 1 snagging wheels, type 27 grinding wheels and type 28 grinding wheels.


A type 1 snagging wheel has a straight profile and a relatively small diameter of about 2 to 4 inches. Its size makes it ideal for use on high-speed die grinders for grinding off excess metal. Weiler Abrasives’ type 1 snagging wheels incorporate aluminum oxide grains for a long life grinding and a consistent cut-rate.


Type 27 is by far the most common abrasive grinding wheel. Type 27 grinding wheels differ from other wheels in that they have a flat profile with a depressed center. A depressed center allows for clearance when the operator must work at a constrained angle.

Using a wheel with a depressed center allows for a range of grinding angles, typically from 0 to 45 degrees. However, the optimal angles for working with type 27 grinding wheels range from 25 to 30 degrees. The steeper the grinding angle, the more aggressive the cut will be.

Working at shallow angles with these wheels requires some consideration of potential ramifications. Grinding at shallow angles can prolong the wheel’s lifespan, but it also often compromises the cut-rate. On harder materials, shallow grinding angles may also increase unwanted vibration and chatter.


Type 28 grinding wheels, also known as saucer wheels, have similarly depressed centers and are optimized for low grinding angles. They differ from type 27 wheels in that their concave or saucer-shaped design allows for better access to the workpiece — especially in tighter areas, such as corners, fillets and overhangs — and increased aggression at smaller working angles. They can work at angles between 0 and 30 degrees but typically work best for use with grinding angles from 0 to 15 degrees.

The materials in each grinding wheel break down into a few main components — the grains, the bond and the fiberglass that reinforces the wheels to give them strength and stability for use in demanding applications. The grit of the wheel is also an essential element that helps determine performance.


The abrasive grains provide the essential functionality of a grinding wheel because they remove material from the workpiece. A few commonly used grinding wheel abrasives are ceramic alumina, zirconia alumina, aluminum oxide, white aluminum oxide, aluminum oxide and silicon carbide. Grains can be blended together to achieve different performance characteristics as well.

  • Ceramic alumina: These grains offer the benefit of self-sharpening and micro-fracturing crystals. They are relatively cool when in use, and they provide the longest operating life under moderate to high pressure. They grind at lower temperatures and generate less friction — one main benefit of these qualities is that they minimize heat discoloration on the workpiece. Ceramic alumina is ideal for hard-to-grind metals such as armored steel, titanium, hard nickel alloys, Inconel tool steel and stainless steel.
  • Zirconia alumina: Zirconia alumina grains provide a fast cut and a long life on metal workpieces. They are self-sharpening and deliver Rapid, consistent grinding, especially on metals like steel and stainless steel. They also hold up well under high pressures and extreme temperatures.
  • Zirconia alumina blended with ceramic alumina: If you like the performance of a zirconia alumina grinding wheel but are looking for an extra boost a blend with ceramic alumina will deliver faster cutting with less effort.
  • White aluminum oxide: White aluminum oxide grinding wheels offer a relatively fast cut-rate and an extensive lifespan. They are ideal for grinding stainless steel and harder-grade steel.
  • Aluminum oxide: An aluminum oxide grain is ideal for steel, iron and other metals. Although it is hard and durable and provides a sharp, fast initial cut, the grain dulls over time and lacks the cut-rate and potential longevity of some other grains. Aluminum oxide provides exceptional value and cost-effectiveness while still offering the excellent quality and consistent performance necessary in a grinding wheel.
  • Silicon carbide: Silicon carbide is an extremely hard grain that is very sharp and fast cutting but friable, not as tough as other grains.
  • Silicon carbide/aluminum oxide blend: A wheel made from a blend of silicon carbide and aluminum oxide provides ideal grinding for aluminum and other soft alloys. These grains offer extended life spans and fast, consistent cut rates on aluminum and other soft metals.

Grains also come in various sizes — the size of a grain refers to the size of the individual abrasive particles, similar to the grades for sandpaper particles.


The bond is the substance that causes the abrasive grains to adhere to the wheel. Bonds can consist of different materials. Common materials include shellac, resinoids, rubber and glass or glass-ceramic. At Weiler Abrasives, our portable grinding wheels contain resinoid bonds.

The bond on a grinding wheel may be either hard or soft. A harder bond extends the wheel’s lifespan, provided the user operates and maintains the wheel correctly. A softer bond, on the other hand, allows for smoother grinding and exposes new grains more quickly. Choosing the correct bond for a given application can help balance performance and longevity. The type of metal can also influence the bond that’s best for your application.

A grinding wheel’s bond sometimes contains iron, sulfur and chlorine, which can pose challenges if they adhere to the workpiece during grinding. Weiler Abrasives offers several wheels that minimize these elements. Our Tiger Ceramic, Aluminum, and INOX wheels are contaminant-free, containing less than 0.1% chlorine, sulfur and iron. They help prevent corrosion on stainless steel and aluminum workpieces.

The bond on a grinding wheel helps provide a consistent cut rate by exposing new grains over time. As older grains become worn, the grain particles fracture as they are designed to — thereby exposing new abrasive surfaces, leaving fresh abrasive particles exposed in their places. Ideally, the composition of the binding is such that under normal working conditions, wear and tear will remove worn abrasive particles and leave fresh ones in place, maintaining the wheel’s superior cut-rate and performance.

The abrasive particles bound to the wheel also have a characteristic known as grade. Grade refers to hardness, but not the hardness of the particles themselves — it refers instead to the strength of the bond holding the particles to the wheel. A wheel with a stronger bond typically has a longer life. A softer bond is designed to break down faster to maintain a consistent cut rate as new sharp grains take the place of worn ones. The letters N, R, S and T specify the hardness of a bond, with the letters that come later in the alphabet referring to harder bonds. As a general rule, a wheel with a softer bond will perform better on a hard metal, while a hard bond will perform better on a softer metal.

The fiberglass structure and design on a grinding wheel provides reinforcement, rigidity and superior grinding ability. All Weiler grinding wheels come with triple-reinforced fiberglass that gives additional support and strength for aggressive stock removal. Our Tiger brand of performance grinding wheels has the outer layout of fiberglass cut back to allow for aggressive grinding from the outset with no break-in period.


The grit of a wheel is critical for supplying the right abrasion. Grit measurements generally range from coarse to fine. On Weiler Abrasives’ grinding wheels, the coarsest grit has a rating of about 24 and the finest grit — the grit on snagging wheels — has a rating of about 36. Selecting the right grit level for a particular application helps ensure sufficient grinding power. A course grit has a better removal rate, while a finer grit requires less pressure during application and allows for a better final finish on the workpiece.


When selecting a grinding wheel, users should consider two primary factors — diameter and thickness. Both metrics affect the wheel’s usability and performance.


The choice of diameter for a grinding wheel generally depends on the available tool. The primary reason for fitting the grinding wheel diameter to the tool is safety — the operation of the tool should never exceed the RPM rating on the abrasive. Smaller power tools tend to operate at higher RPM than larger power tools, and the design of abrasives and brushes enables them to meet the same standards. Running a wheel with only an 8,500 RPM rating on a grinder that operates at 13,000 RPM could cause the abrasive to fail and injure the operator.

Choosing the correct diameter also enhances safety because it allows for the use of proper guards. Trying to fit a 6-inch abrasive on a 4.5-inch grinder necessitates removing the protective guards, and running the grinder without guards would increase the operator’s chance of injury if the abrasive failed.

Product life is an additional factor in the choice of grinding wheel diameter. Larger-diameter wheels last longer. Especially in applications where the operator must run the grinding wheel for a sustained period, using a larger-diameter wheel can improve productivity by reducing the number of times the operator must stop and replace the abrasive.

The configuration of the workspace and workpiece also influence the choice of diameter. For instance, an operator working in a cramped space or on a tricky area of the workpiece may choose a die grinder with a small 3-inch wheel for better access.


The thickness of a grinding wheel impacts its performance and wheel life. Our grinding wheels typically come with a quarter-inch thickness. This measurement gives our wheels a superior balance of precision, wheel life, and cut-rate when grinding.

Combination grinding and cutting wheels with 1/8-inch thickness are also available. These wheels allow for grinding and for making cuts that require a thinner wheel. The benefit of these thinner combo wheels is that they enable the operator to perform both 90-degree cuts and shallow-angled grinding without having to change the abrasive used on the wheel.


Thus far, we’ve discussed how different wheel types and compositions can influence the performance of a grinding wheel. And we’ve explored how selecting particular wheel diameters and thicknesses can optimize grinding wheels for specialized applications.

Now let’s examine a few particular applications that require the use of grinding wheels and consider the optimal wheel specifications for each.

  • Multipass welding work: For work on pipelines, pressure vessels, and other critical to quality welding operations, operators will likely want a wheel such as the Tiger Zirc pipeline grinding wheel. This wheel incorporates ceramic-infused zirconia alumina with a 1/8th-inch thickness for precision and control when grinding the weld bead in a bevel. This wheel offers diameters ranging from 4 1/2 to 9 inches.
  • Mechanized pipe welding: For mechanized pipe welding, operators generally need thinner wheels that allow them to grind the bead without expanding or marring the bevel. The Tiger Mech wheel is an ideal solution, designed for grinding starts and stops on J and K bevels. This wheel incorporates ceramic-infused zirconia alumina and a thin 3/32-inch thickness that allows for precision and consistency. The 4 1/2-inch to 7-inch diameters allow for several grinder size options when notching mechanized pipe welds.


To see the benefits of high-quality surface conditioning solutions in your workplace, make Weiler Abrasives your trusted source for portable grinding wheels. We are here to help with all your grinding challenges by providing the expertise to help you select the best abrasive grinding wheel to meet your unique surface conditioning requirements.

We also set ourselves apart from our competitors with our Value Package, offering safety training for safe and proper wheel use and direct field support that helps you solve your operational challenges and get the most productivity and profit out of your grinding wheel.

Silicon carbide grinding wheels

Rex-Cut Type 1 Deburring Wheels are manufactured from our signature abrasive materials designed for blending, deburring, and finishing applications. METALS Stainless steel Aluminum Exotic metals Mild.

surfacing wheel T1

Diameter: 2, 2.5, 3 in

Debur and clean pipe thread AUTOMOTIVE: Blend and finish brazing in assembly plants. GRAIN TYPES Aluminum oxide Silicon Carbide available by special request only GRAIN SIZES Coarse Medium Fine Very.

surfacing wheel Large Diameter

Diameter: 5 in. 10 in

Rex-Cut Type 1 Large Diameter Abrasive Wheels are manufactured with our signature abrasive materials and are designed for blending, deburring, and finishing. METALS Stainless steel Aluminum Exotic.

sharpening wheel 3SG

Diameter: 180, 200, 150 mm

, brown aluminum oxide for carbon steel, and silicon carbide for non-ferrous metals and carbide tooling. Features Benefits Very high concentration of SG ceramic for high removal.

sharpening wheel BY

Silicon carbide grinding tools in self-sharpening resinoid bond systems. Resin-bonded grinding tools for the pointing of hypodermic needles. Burr-free finish.

polishing wheel

distributed with the abrasive grain made of silicone carbide Porous characteristic is guaranteed high adaptability cool grinding temperature and prevents even under extreme conditions.

sharpening wheel

Ideal for sharpening your carbide-tipped cutting tools. Features Benefits Sharp, silicon carbide abrasive dark green Fast cut rate Vitrified bond Vitrified bond

surfacing wheel 203.00

Resin Abrasives. Black silicon carbide grinding wheel

surface treatment wheel

presents silicon carbide grinding wheels. They are used in several applications like surface grinding, circular grinding, tool grinding.

surfacing wheel

External cylindrical grinding. Angle approach grinding. Straight plunge-cut grinding. Centerless grinding. Longitudinal grinding Gear.

dressing wheel

Diameter: 127 mm. 455 mm

Bench Pedestal Grinding Wheels General purpose wheels 5” (127mm) – 18” (455mm)

finishing wheel MV01/80


cut-off wheel

Diameter: 50 mm. 610 mm

offering the best value for money. Cutting discs can be flat (T41) or depressed centre (T42) with diameter from 50 up to 610 mm. They are available in different thickness in aluminium oxide, silicon.

polishing wheel BSD-G-001

Features: high quality silicon carbide and polishing powder raw materials, excellent durability and sharp degree, with anti impact strength, high performance, and Italy imported film can be comparable.

surfacing wheel PMI

Classic and complete grinding wheels or diamond grinding wheels for Ocrim scourers. The silicon carbide grinding.

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Silicon carbide grinding wheel

Silicon carbide is an important ceramic material known for its excellent hardness. Its hardness is only surpassed by diamond, cubic boron nitride, and boron carbide. This compound is composed of silicon and carbon. It has very high abrasion resistance and is relatively cheaper when we talk about production. The material is lightweight, has excellent thermal conductivity, and has low thermal expansion. For these reasons, silicon carbide material is often applied as a loose or solid abrasive material in several applications. Silicon carbide ceramics maintain a high mechanical strength in temperatures as high as 2,550° F. It is capable of withstanding corrosion by chemicals much better than many other ceramic materials. Silicon carbide crude is produced by mixing and heating silica (SiO2) with carbon (C) in an adhesion graphite resistance furnace at very high temperatures. Silicon carbide abrasives are available in several forms, depending on the applications they’re meant for. Before we look at these, let’s quickly consider the different types of silicon carbide products.

Types of Silicon Carbide Ceramics

In commercial engineering applications, silicon carbide is produced in different forms.

  • Sintered silicon carbide (SSC)
  • Nitride bonded silicon carbide (NBSC)
  • Reaction bonded silicon carbide (RBSC)
  • Clay-bonded silicon carbide
  • SiAlON bonded silicon carbide, also known as silicon nitride bonded silicon carbide (NBSC).
  • Chemical-vapor-deposited silicon carbide (CVD) Silicon Carbide. CVD is an extremely pure form of silicon carbide compound.

Types of Silicon Carbide Abrasives

Silicon Carbide Powder

Silicon carbide powder is a commonly used abrasive material. Silicon carbide powder can be produced by reacting and pyrolyzing vaporized polysiloxanes in a single heating step, which produces silicon carbide powder. This process is straightforward and inexpensive. This method basically involves introducing a vaporized polysiloxane into a reaction chamber. The polysiloxane vapor is then made to react at a temperature of about 2900° F for a period of time sufficient to convert the polysiloxane vapor into silicon carbide powder, which is then collected.

Silicon carbide powders are particularly used as abrasive materials for abrasive machining processes such as grinding, water-jet cutting, and sandblasting. Silicon carbide powders serve as grinding powders for fine grinding or rough polishing semiconductors, ceramics, and ferrous materials. It can also be used for shaping, honing, and polishing other materials.

Silicon Carbide Sandpaper

Another common application of silicon carbide is in wet and dry sanding. This includes automotive polishing, as well as polishing stone and marble. In more coarse grits, the abrasive is ideal for removing rust, deburring metal and glass, refinishing wood flooring, etc.

Silicon Carbide Sandpaper Sheet

Silicon carbide sandpaper is actually the hardest and sharpest abrasive commonly used in many applications. However, it lacks durability due to its brittleness, and its narrow particle size wears down faster. The grains are razor-sharp, making them ideal for sanding metal, marble, glass, stone, cork, medium-density fiberboard, and plastic using minimal pressure application.

Silicon Carbide Grinding Wheel

Grinding wheels consist of abrasive compounds, which are used for various grinding and abrasive machining operations in grinding machines. Most grinding wheels are made with composite materials. Silicon carbide grinding wheel is another common application of the fast-cutting silicon carbide material. It is used for non-ferrous metals. It has very sharp abrasive grains and is typically recommended for grinding relatively soft metals like aluminum or cast iron. It can also be utilized for grinding extremely hard materials like cemented carbide. For instance, a green silicon carbide grinding wheel is a type of bonded abrasive that uses green silicon carbide grain materials and vitrified or resinoid bonds to form certain shapes. Green silicon carbide grinding wheels are mostly used on carbides. Black silicon carbide, on the other hand, is used for machining materials like stone, plastics, etc. These wheels can be run with or without coolant.

Silicon Carbide Sharpening Stone

A common application of silicon carbide sharpening stone is for the sharpening of knives made from hard stainless steel. Silicon carbide sharpening stone cuts aggressively. Usually, silicon carbide stones do come in a coarser grit and are suitable for the initial coarse sharpening. Silicon carbide stones have been shown to have a Mohs Hardness of 9-10. Silicon carbide sharpening stones can be used with either water or oil. Oil stones, for instance, can be made from different types of materials, which are novaculite, aluminum oxide, and silicon carbide, but the fastest cutting oil stones are silicon carbide stones. When using water with the stones, it helps to have some dish soap mixed with it, so it doesn’t just soak into the pores immediately.


Silicon carbide is a ceramic material containing silicon and carbon. The material is hard, containing abrasive grains that break down under pressure, and is used in many essential applications, such as sandpapers, grinding wheels, and sharpening stones. Thank you for reading our article and we hope that it can help you have a better understanding of silicon carbide ceramics. For more information, please visit

An Overview of Silicon Nitride Ceramics

How Are Ceramic Components Made? (With Infographic)

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