CBN (cubic boron nitride)

CBN (cubic boron nitride)

CBN is the second hardest material after synthetic diamond and is particularly suitable for machining ferrous materials.

Element Six provides toolmakers with a choice of different CBN (cubic boron nitride) products to suit a wide range of applications.

Cubic boron nitride (CBN) is the second hardest material after synthetic diamond and is synthesised from hexagonal boron nitride under conditions similar to those used to produce synthetic diamond from graphite. The desirable characteristics of an abrasive include high hardness, strength, abrasion resistance, and thermal and chemical resistance, and an ability to maintain sharp cutting edges during use. These characteristics exceed the values of conventional abrasives, such as silicon carbide and aluminum oxide. In particular, the properties of high thermal stability and chemical resistance make it suitable for machining ferrous materials, an area where synthetic diamond abrasives are not normally employed.

Hardness is a crucial property of any abrasive. However, most abrasives suffer a loss in hardness at the elevated temperatures experienced during application. One of the physical advantages of CBN compared to conventional abrasives is that, in addition to being harder at ambient temperature, it maintains this hardness over a wide temperature range.

ABN abrasives provide higher productivity and dramatically longer tool lives compared to conventional abrasives when grinding, honing and fine finishing hardened ferrous materials and difficult to machine alloys. CBN is firmly established in ‘tool and cutter’ grinding and in mass production grinding operations in the automotive, general engineering and aerospace industries. Application examples include camshafts, crankshafts, fuel injectors, transmission parts, gears, CV joints, power steering pump parts and compressor parts. Some of the many advantages of CBN include improved surface finishes and the production of more favourable compressive residual surface stresses.

To provide the toolmaker with a choice of abrasives to enable optimisation of the tool for a specific application, the Element Six ABN range comprises of: ABN200, ABN300, ABN800, ABN800A and ABN900. Each abrasive material provides a unique combination of crystal strength, thermal stability and crystal morphology or shape. For very fine micron size abrasives, please refer to our Micron+ product range.