Vulcanised fibre is a composite material made of cellulose (cotton or cellulose fibres). The name is a reference to the vulcanisation of natural rubber to form hard rubber, which, at a cursory glance, is similar to the production of vulcanised fibre. Vulcanised fibre is made by guiding webs of cotton and/or cellulose fibres through a parchmentising bath containing zinc-chloride solution or sulphuric acid, causing the fibres to partially dissolve. The liquid is subsequently pressed out, which joins the individual fibres and the webs without the addition of any bonding agents.
Thanks to its great mechanical strength and stability at a low weight and outstanding ductility, vulcanised fibre, today, is used not only for punched parts, seals and backings for laminates and other industrial products but also as backing material for abrasive discs, the so-called vulcanised fibre abrasive discs or, in short, fibre discs. These products are commonly made with backings that have a thickness between 0.38 and 0.84 mm.
Vulcanised fibre is permanently temperature-resistant, but only up to a temperature of 110° C. For this reason, the user should avoid working at pressure levels that exceed recommended levels as well as working on the spot, as this may cause blistering and burns on the disc, ultimately resulting in grain shedding.
The cellulose used to form the vulcanised fibre backing is hygroscopic, which means it is capable of absorbing and releasing moisture from and into the environment, leading to volume changes in the fibres. Fibre discs that are exposed to too much or too little humidity are prone to buckle. It is, therefore, recommended to store the discs at a medium humidity level (relative humidity of approx. 45-65%).
Klingspor uses vulcanised fibre as backing material for their fibre abrasive discs. The fibre discs included in Klingspor's line-up are suitable for a wide range of different applications.
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