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Goal of Grinding Wheel Performance Standards Is Repeatable Results

Metal working, tool making, and other industries use grinding wheels to cut materials for thousands of applications from stone to surgeons' tools.

Some manufacturers use conventional grinding wheels, made with aluminum oxide or silicon carbide, to cut metals. Others use costly superabrasive diamond or cubic-boron nitride wheels to cut ceramic materials like silicon nitride or exotic superalloys like Inconel®.

Manufacturers use different tests for wheel performance, creating non-repeatable results that make it hard for buyers to make purchasing decisions. In an attempt to establish uniform testing, a subcommittee of ASTM Committee G02 on Wear and Erosion is developing standards for grinding-wheel performance.

The group seeks industry-wide participation, including grinding-wheel manufacturers and other abrasives stakeholders, to develop the group's first project—a standard practice to measure grinding-wheel wear. The group welcomes input from academia and related stakeholders; contact the task group chairman as follows.

“Accurate, quantitative measurements of grinding wheel wear are required to calculate grinding ratio and grinding efficiency, which are two key characteristics of grinding wheel performance,” says task group chairman Sam McSpadden, a senior researcher and leader of the Machining, Inspection and Tribology User Center, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tenn. “Although there are many commonly-used techniques for evaluating wheel wear, most require that a large amount of material be ground to produce an accurate measurement. The group will focus initially on methods for obtaining repeatable measurement results in a laboratory environment, and will address techniques for measuring both conventional and superabrasive grinding wheels.”

Wheel performance, consistency of composition, cost, and ability to produce high-quality ground components are key concerns of grinding-wheel producers and users, McSpadden says. “Wheel wear is perhaps the single most important characteristic in evaluating overall wheel performance. However, the lack of a widely-accepted method or standard practice for determining wheel wear often leads to inconsistent and inconclusive test results.”

McSpadden tests grinding wheel performance for various manufacturers conducting research at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. “Conventional grinding-wheel materials are much less expensive than the diamond wheels but they don't last as long,” he explains. “So there's a tradeoff; you pay a lot of money for a wheel that lasts a long time or you buy a lot of wheels that are cheap and have to be changed frequently.

“We need to come up with a standard set of conditions that will be applicable to a specific type of wheel,” he concludes. “Therefore we could expect to get repeatable results, no matter who manufactures the wheel.”

For further technical information, contact McSpadden at the Machining, Inspection, and Tribology User Center, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tenn. (phone: 865/574-5444). To join the task group, contact Diane Rehiel, manager Technical Committee Operations, ASTM International (phone: 610/832-9717). Committee G02 meets Nov. 20–21 in Tampa, Fla. //

Copyright 2003, ASTM