Going against the old grain

Wed, 08/11/2010 - 9:57am

2010 R&D 100 Winner
2010 Editors' Choice Recipient

L254_3MCeramic abrasive grains used in conventional sanding solutions are irregular, block-shaped, and tend to “plow” through surfaces, rather than cut. This causes frictional heat to build up in both the work piece and the abrasive, resulting in a slower cut and shorter abrasive life. Heat buildup can also cause oxidation and discoloration on the work piece.

Shaped grain technology from 3M Company, St. Paul, Minn., changes the way abrasive grains cut materials surfaces. The 3M Cubitron II Fibre Disc 982C and 3M Cubitron II Metalworking Belt 984F products for tools like consumer circular sanders and industrial belt sanders are designed to be self-sharpening. Its ceramic aluminum oxide grains are structured on a fine level to form sharp triangles instead of the usual irregular blocks. The grains are engineered to continuously fracture during grinding to form fresh, sharp points and edges. Because all the triangles have a consistent height, they provide constant and consistent scratch depth on materials they cut. The end result is faster, cooler cutting action compared to conventional abrasives, including 3M's traditional products.

Self-sharpening sanding material

3M Company

Development Team

The 3M Cubitron II Fibre Disc 982C and 3M Cubitron II Metalworking Belt 984F Development Team from 3M Company
Wayne W. Maurer

Award Year



3M Co.


Wayne W. Maurer (Primary)

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