Advanced Materials and Surface Finishing Processes: The Role of Technical Ceramics and Diamond Abrasives

Technical ceramic materials have revolutionised the modern world, playing an essential role in various industries. From aerospace to electronics, automotive to power generation, these advanced materials are ubiquitous, contributing to increased efficiency and productivity in many applications.

The unique properties of technical ceramics, including high strength, durability, and thermal stability, make them an ideal choice for many critical applications. However, the same properties that make them useful can also make them challenging to machine to final geometries.

To address this challenge, Kemet International developed a combination of composite lapping plates and diamond abrasives that revolutionised the lapping and polishing of ceramic materials. Originally developed in the early 1970s, this breakthrough enabled 100% quality control by producing highly reflective surfaces with unparallelled precision.

Before the development of Kemet’s diamond abrasive technology, Boron Carbide was the only option for lapping ceramic materials. However, this process was costly, dirty, and produced a non-reflective surface that was impossible to measure optically.

Today, Kemet has a full process programme that includes diamond slurries for both twin plate and open face lapping systems, composite plates for specific types of ceramics, and specially formulated cast iron plates. Additionally, Kemet offers technical lapping services for newer applications, such as ceramic coatings on aerospace bearing assemblies, which require special purpose machines and process consumables.

One challenge of working with white alumina-based ceramics is the difficulty of cleaning them after lapping or polishing applications, particularly when cast iron has been used as a lapping tool. Oils and metal particles can contaminate the surface of these components, and without the right cleaning chemistry, it is virtually impossible to restore them to their original pure white appearance.

To address this issue, Kemet’s Cleaning Division offers turnkey process and equipment solutions for small batches or thousands of parts, tailored to meet the specific needs of each business.

If you are struggling with a ceramic processing application, contact Kemet for free trials with no obligation. With over 80 years of experience and a commitment to innovation and customer service, Kemet is a trusted partner for advanced materials and surface finishing processes.

Manufacturing Update