What is the difference between brown corundum and White corundum?

What is the difference between brown corundum and White corundum?

Hope 2024-05-11 16:16:05

What is the difference between brown corundum and White corundum

Corundum is a widely used abrasive known for its hardness and durability. It comes in various types, such as brown corundum and white corundum. The differentiation between the two types of corundum not only lies in their color but also in their chemical composition, the impurities present, and their subsequent effects on physical properties and industrial applications. This article compares white corundum and brown corundum, studying the differences between the two, their characteristics, applications, and advantages in various industries.

Understanding Corundum

  1. Composition:Corundum is a crystalline form of aluminum oxide (Al2O3) and is one of the hardest minerals known. It occurs naturally as transparent gem-quality crystals, commonly known as sapphires or rubies. However, corundum is also widely produced synthetically for industrial applications.
  2. Properties:Corundum possesses excellent hardness, high melting point, and resistance to abrasion and chemical corrosion. These properties make corundum a sought-after material for abrasive, refractory, and engineering applications.
  3. Brown Corundum:Brown corundum is created by melting bauxite, carbon materials, and iron filings in an electric furnace. This process results in a brown-colored mineral that is primarily composed of aluminum oxide (Al2O3), making up 94.5-97% of its chemical composition, along with small amounts of iron, silicon, titanium, and other elements. Brown corundum is noted for its good toughness, high purity, excellent crystallization, strong fluidity, low linear expansion coefficient, and corrosion resistance. Its performance in refractory applications is particularly noteworthy, as it has been proven to show no initiation, no pulverization, and no cracking, offering superior cost performance compared to traditional brown corundum products.
  4. White CorundumWhite corundum is a synthetic mineral made primarily from industrial alumina powder. The production process involves melting alumina powder in an arc furnace at temperatures exceeding 2,000 degrees Celsius. After melting, the material is cooled, crushed, and molded. It undergoes magnetic separation to remove any iron content and is screened to achieve various levels of granularity. This material is characterized by its dense texture, high hardness, and the sharpness of its particles, making it highly effective for cutting and polishing applications. White corundum boasts high purity, excellent self-sharpening properties, resistance to acid and alkali, corrosion resistance, high-temperature resistance, and stable thermal performance. Its superior cutting strength and polishing effects make it preferred for high-end applications.

Comparative Analysis

Brown Corundum

  1. Composition and Color:Brown corundum, also known as brown fused alumina, is produced by melting bauxite in an electric arc furnace at high temperatures. It is primarily composed of aluminum oxide (Al2O3) with traces of iron oxide, silica, and titanium oxide. The presence of iron oxide imparts a brown color to this type of corundum.
  2. Characteristics and Applications:Brown corundum is renowned for its high toughness and durability. It is commonly used as an abrasive material in applications requiring aggressive cutting, grinding, and polishing. Brown corundum is ideal for surface preparation, metal fabrication, and the production of coated and bonded abrasives.
  3. Advantages:
    • High toughness and wear resistance
    • Suitable for heavy-duty grinding and cutting applications
    • Excellent thermal conductivity
    • Cost-effective compared to other abrasive materials

White Corundum

  1. Composition and Color:White corundum, also known as white fused alumina, is a synthetic mineral made primarily from industrial alumina powder. It is produced by melting alumina powder in an arc furnace at high temperatures. The resulting material is white in color due to the absence of impurities like iron oxide that contribute to the brown color in brown corundum.
  2. Characteristics and ApplicationsWhite corundum is characterized by its dense texture, high hardness, and sharp particles. It is highly effective for cutting and polishing applications that demand precision and a clean finish. White corundum finds applications in the production of bonded abrasives, refractories, and precision ceramics.
  3. Advantages
    • High purity and low impurity content
    • Excellent cutting ability and precision grinding performance
    • Superior surface finish and minimal surface contamination
    • Ideal for applications that require high-grade abrasives

Key Differences between Brown Corundum and White Corundum

  1. Physical and Chemical PropertiesBoth types of corundum boast an extreme hardness, a quality that makes them excellent abrasives for industrial uses, including gemstone cutting, due to their toughness and resistance to heat and chemical reactions. The color variations between brown and white corundum are primarily due to the different types and amounts of impurities present within each mineral form. White corundum is often more refined, leading to its clear to pale white appearance in its opaque form. Meanwhile, brown corundum's coloration is directly influenced by its higher impurity content, which does not significantly impact its abrasive properties but does distinguish its appearance and certain physical properties. Brown sapphire gets its brown color from trace amounts of iron oxide.
  2. Toughness and HardnessBrown corundum is known for its high toughness, making it suitable for applications involving heavy grinding and cutting. In contrast, white corundum exhibits exceptional hardness and precision grinding capabilities, making it ideal for applications requiring fine finishes.
  3. Impurity ContentWhite corundum has a significantly lower impurity content compared to brown corundum. The high purity of white corundum makes it highly desirable for applications where surface contamination must be minimized.
  4. ApplicationsBrown corundum is commonly used in heavy-duty grinding, surface preparation, and metal fabrication. White corundum finds its applications in precision grinding, polishing, and industries that require a high-quality surface finish.
  5. Industrial and Economic ValueWhite corundum is distinguished by its superior cutting strength and polishing effect, making it a preferred material for processing carbon steel, alloy steel, malleable cast iron, and hard bronze. This preference is attributed to its higher purity level, which results from the removal or limitation of certain impurities during production. In contrast,brown corundum is widely utilized for its general abrasiveness and is commonly employed in the treatment of hardened steel, high-speed steel, and high carbon steel. The color and properties of brown corundum are a result of its natural impurity content, which, while making it slightly less pure than white corundum, does not significantly detract from its utility in industrial applications.


Brown corundum and white corundum are two distinct types of corundum with unique properties and applications. While brown corundum offers high toughness and durability for heavy-duty grinding and cutting tasks, white corundum stands out with its exceptional hardness, purity, and precision grinding capabilities. Understanding the differences between brown corundum and white corundum enables industries to choose the appropriate type based on their specific requirements, ensuring optimal performance and desired results in various abrasive, refractory, and engineering applications.

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