Polishing and buffing are finishing processes for smoothing a workpiece's surface using an abrasive and a work wheel. Technically polishing refers to processes that use an abrasive that is glued to the work wheel, while buffing uses a loose abrasive applied to the work wheel. Polishing is a more aggressive process while buffing is less harsh, which leads to a smoother, brighter finish. A common misconception is that a polished surface has a mirror bright finish, however most mirror bright finishes are actually buffed. Polishing is often used to enhance the looks of an item, prevent contamination of medical instruments, remove oxidation, create a reflective surface, or prevent corrosion in pipes. In metallography and metallurgy, polishing is used to create a flat, defect-free surface for examination of a metal's microstructure under a microscope. Silicon-based polishing pads or a diamond solution can be used in the polishing process. The removal of oxidization (tarnish) from metal objects is accomplished using a metal polish or tarnish remover; this is also called polishing. To prevent further unwanted oxidization, polished metal surfaces may be coated with wax, oil, or lacquer. This is of particular concern for copper alloy products such as brass and bronze.
|1 Process |
|1.1 Equipment |
|2 Applications |
|3 See also |
|4 References |
|4.1 Notes |
|4.2 Bibliography |
Polishing is usually a multistage process. The first stage starts with a rough abrasive and each subsequent stage uses a finer abrasive until the desired finish is achieved. The rough pass removes surface defects like pits, nicks, lines and scratches. The finer abrasives leave very thin lines that are not visible to the naked eye. Lubricants like wax and kerosene are used as lubricating and cooling media during these operations. Buffing may be done by hand with a stationary polisher or die grinder, or it may be automated using specialized equipment. When buffing there are two types of buffing motions: the cut motion and the color motion. The cut motion is designed to give a uniform, smooth, semi-bright surface finish. This is achieved by moving the workpiece against the rotation of the buffing wheel, while using medium to hard pressure. The color motion gives a clean, bright, shiny surface finish. This is achieved by moving the workpiece with the rotation of the buffing wheel, while using medium to light pressure. When polishing brass, there are often minute marks in the metal caused by impurities. To overcome this, the surface is polished with a very fine (600) grit, copper plated, then buffed to a mirror finish with an airflow mop. Polishing operations for items such as chisels, hammers, screwdrivers, wrenches, etc., are given a fine finish but not plated. In order to achieve this finish four operations are required: roughing, dry fining, greasing, and coloring. Note that roughing is usually done on a solid grinding wheel and for an extra fine polish the greasing operation may be broken up into two operations: rough greasing and fine greasing. However, for inexpensive items money is saved by only performing the first two operations. Polishing knives and cutlery is known as fine glazing or blue glazing. Sand buffing, when used on German silver, white metal, etc., is technically a buffing operation because it uses a loose abrasive, but removes a significant amount of material, like polishing.
Aluminium oxide abrasives are used on high tensile strength metals, such as carbon and alloy steel, tough iron, and nonferrous alloys....
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