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Diamond Abrasive Under the Microscope

Polycrystalline Diamond Abrasive

Diamond is isotropic and so has the same brightness as the background.

Transmitted Off Cross Polarized Light Illumination


Polycrystalline diamond abrasive has a conchordal fracture and is a prefered abrasive for use in abrasive impregnated metal saw blades and drills. Its irregular shape provides more area mechanically locking the particle in the metal and gives a sharper cutting surface. Single crystal diamond abrasive has a lower "cutting speed" and a shorter life on the tool because its tetragonal shape results in a very low surface area to bond to the metal cutting tool and a rather dull cutting surface.

Significance in the Environment:

Characteristic Features:

Diamond is isotropic, which distinguishes it from most other crystalline abrasives. Its very high refractive index, 2.42, distinguishes it from other isotropic abrasives such as garnet, slag, and glass. This high refractive index results in very strong relief at the edges of the particle.

Associated Particles: