The diamond used is manufactured or synthetic as opposed to natural. Manufactured diamond is preferred over natural diamond because key characteristics like crystal shape, size, and strength can be closely controlled through the manufacturing process. The ability to control the key characteristics of the synthetic diamond allow for accurate prediction of cutting speed and blade life as well as consistent repeatability. Some other important factors to consider about diamond are the:
• amount of diamond in the segment
• quality of the diamond in the segment
• size of the diamond in the segment
The amount of diamond in the segment is variable and requires more horsepower as the content of diamond is increased in the segment. Simply put it means that as more diamond is added to the segment more horsepower is needed to make the blade cut. In practical terms this means that blades for high horsepower saws will have more diamond in the segment.
The quality of the diamond determines the ability of the individual diamond to resist heat and maintain a sharp point. Better diamonds can hold a point longer at higher temperatures.
Finally the last thing to consider is the size of the diamond. The individual’s diamond sizes are specified in mesh ranges like 25-35 or 50-60. The higher the numbers the finer the individual particles. In practical application finer diamond is used for critically-hard material like Chert or Quartz while the larger more coarse diamond is used for soft materials like asphalt and soft red clay bricks.
The bond is a mixture of metal powders used in various combinations to achieve specific wear rates. A correctly-formulated bond holds the diamond in place, just long enough to get maximum use from the diamond points before releasing the stone and exposing the next layer of diamond.
The wear rate for the segment can be simplified to the ability of a metal to resist wear from abrasion. Metals with low abrasion resistance like bronze are considered soft. The soft bonds are mostly made up of soft metals like Bronze and are common when cutting very hard less abrasive material like porcelain. The hard bonds are mostly made up of hard metals like Tungsten Carbide and are common when cutting very soft abrasive materials like asphalt or freshly poured concrete.
The best way to remember bond-to-material application is “opposites attract” - hard bonds for soft abrasive materials while soft bonds are used for hard less abrasive materials. In some extreme cases, it is possible to simply judge the hardness of the blade by noticing the color of the segment. Because soft blades contain a majority of Bronze, the soft blades for extremely hard materials will have a yellow tint to the segment.
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