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How to Pick the Right Waterjet Machining Abrasive

One of the most fundamental considerations when selecting your water jet cutting abrasive for optimal profits and operation of include size and type. Your abrasive selection should start with assessing the material as well as the cutting specifications. A fabricator will consider the difficulty associated with cutting the material as well as the intended surface finish when deciding on a proper abrasive for the job. For optimal performance, the abrasive tool must possess the correct hardness, structure, toughness, density, and form.

You could select a naturally-occurring or artificial abrasive for your water jet cutting equipment, but it has to have the attributes below:

Consider Hardness

A water jet cutter has to strike a reasonable balance between component damage and speed. If you use a soft abrasive, nozzle life is prolonged, but cutting is slowed down. A harder abrasive does the job pretty fast but it accelerates nozzle’s wear. Finally, your equipment’s cutting accuracy and uptime are lowered, with frequent nozzle replacement introducing more maintenance costs. To achieve a long cutting tool life and still be quick on the job, find an abrasive graded between 7 and 8 on the Mohs scale.

Excellent Density

Mass multiplied by velocity is the function defining the key cutting power of a waterjet. As such, the perfect abrasive constitutes the heaviest particle that the water stream can propel to maximum velocity. The end result is optimization of the cutting force. A compromise is important here as a too light abrasive is not forceful enough, while one that’s too heavy won’t achieve maximum velocity, draining the water stream of its full force. To achieve both cutting power and acceleration, try something with a specific gravity of 4.0.

Abrasive Toughness

There’s an outright relationship between the performance of a water jet cutting abrasive and toughness. Material that lacks toughness may break down within the focusing tube, losing cutting efficiency for excessive softness. Excessive toughness leads to rounding over the mixing process with the abrasive becoming too dull to cut effectively. An abrasive that’s tough enough for a measured breakdown rate is preferred to yield sharp cuts.

Particle Shape

Abrasives exist in a range of particle shapes, for example beards like steel shot and needle-like crystals typical of silicon carbide–an inorganic tool produced for state-of-the-art exploitation. A fabricator may prioritize spherical particles in recognition of the fact that a sphere is ideal for delivering mass that’s transmitted via a high-powered jet of water. However, some balancing must be achieved for acceleration, wear, and cutting efficiency when choosing the right particle shape for an abrasive, with any water jet cutting project.

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