Polishing Ceramic Coatings & White Alumina Ceramics

Advanced technical ceramic materials have transformed the world we live in to the point where we don’t even notice we are encountering them. They are present within our cars in sensors and control systems; within our computers, phones and touch pads; the water and power we use daily all benefit from ceramic technologies, which can withstand the extreme temperatures and mechanical stresses in applications for generating energy in power plant engines and turbines, all contributing to better efficiency and productivity.

It is the unique properties of these many ceramic components that can make them a challenging material to machine to final geometries. Many are made from the same material that historically would have been used to lap and polish them; typically aluminium oxide and silicon carbide.

This created a challenge that Kemet International were amongst the first to rise to with their Kemet lapping plate material and their diamond compounds and slurries. Originally developed in the early 1970’s, this combination of composite lapping plate and diamond abrasives made the lapping and polishing of ceramic materials much more efficient with results that enabled 100% quality control as a by-product of the highly reflective surfaces that this process combination was able to achieve. Until this breakthrough Boron Carbide had been the only option for lapping ceramic materials and this was very costly and an incredibly dirty process producing a non-reflective surface that was impossible to measure optically.

Now in 2019, Kemet have a full process programme which includes diamond slurries for both twin plate and open face lapping systems, Kemet composite plates for specific types of ceramics as well as specially formulated cast iron plates. Newer applications like ceramic coatings on aerospace bearing assemblies have required the development of special purpose machines as well as process consumables, another of the technical services Kemet can offer.

White alumina based ceramics can be incredibly difficult to clean after a lapping or polishing application, particularly where cast iron has been used as a lap tool. Typically the oils and metal particles will contaminate the surface of these components, and without the right cleaning chemistry, it is virtually impossible to return the parts to their original pure white appearance.

In these situations Kemets Cleaning Division can supply turnkey process and equipment solutions for small batches, or 1000’s of parts, each solution tailored for your business.

If you are struggling with a ceramic processing application contact Kemet for free trials with no obligation.

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