Minerals, Metals, and Other Materials

Man-Made Products

How is sandpaper made?

Sandpaper is a coated abrasive that consists of a flexible-type backing (paper) upon which a film of adhesive holds and supports a coating of abrasive grains. Various types of resins and hide glues are used as adhesives. The first record of a coated abrasive is in thirteenth-century China, when crushed seashells were bound to parchment using natural gums. The first known article on coated abrasives was published in 1808 and described how calcined, ground pumice was mixed with varnish and spread on paper with a brush. Most abrasive papers are now made with aluminum oxide or silicon carbide, although the term sandpapering is still used. Quartz grains are also used for wood polishing. The paper used is heavy, tough, and flexible, and the grains are bonded with a strong glue.


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