How Do Diamond Blades Work?

Diamond blades don't cut - they grind their way through the substance to be cut.

There are diamond crystals exposed on the edges and sides of the segments encased in their "bond" and these crystals do the grinding work as the blade rotates on the arbor of the machine.

The bond locks each crystal in place and behind each diamond crystal there is a tail of bond that helps support the diamond segment and lock it in place. The grinding process causes the substance being cut to be converted into a fine powder, while the bond also wears away exposing more diamonds to complete the work.

As the cut material wears away the bond, the diamond crystals crack and fracture into tiny pieces that also assist in the grinding process. Harder materials break down the diamond structure faster, requiring a more concentrated array of diamonds in the bond. This continuous grinding and wearing process continues until the blade is "worn out" although sometimes a small, unusable part of the segments or rim may remain.

It is important to understand that the diamond blade and the material must work together for the blade to cut effectively. The diamond type, quality and grit size must be suited for the saw and the material. The bond material must also be matched to the material to be cut.

Undercut protection is usually found on floorsaw blades. If the blade cuts through what it is supposed to be cutting (for example asphalt) and cuts into road base the indercut segment protects the area where the segments join the blade body. Without undercut protection, this could cause the loss of a segment, potentially hitting the operator or bystanders.

Water is always recommended for use with diamond blades. It significantly cools a blade, increasing its life. Using water also reduces dust production. When cutting, the water combines with the dust to create an abrasive slurry, which assists with cutting. Too much water washes the slurry away and slows cutting, but too little can cause overheating. Cut back the water to "open" a glazed blade (ie allow the diamond to be exposed again, allowing efficient cutting to recommence) or when cutting through reo bars in concrete. Alumina ceramic overheat very easily, so they need lots of water, otherwise the alumina ceramic cracks.
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