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Silicon Carbide, Carborundum Under the Microscope

Carborundum Abrasive, Silicon Carbide

Transmitted Off Crossed Polarized Light Illumination


Carborundum is a man-made abrasive also known as silicon carbide.

Significance in the Environment:

Silicon Carbide, even at trace levels, indicates that the presence of abrasive assemblages should be investigated in the sample. Its presence in a sample indicates the use of abrasives and not the presence of natural minerals. It is often a low level impurity in abrasive products containing primarily garnet, or corundum (emery). When it is found with these minerals it suggests that these two natural minerals are present not as natural background but rather as an abrasive assemblage.

Characteristic Features:

Silicon carbide has an irregular series of interference colors. The combination of these irregular colors, very high refractive indices, and sharply angular shape is used to suggest its presence.

Associated Particles: