Diamond and Cubic Baron Nitride (CBN) are often referred to as superabrasives because the tools are capable of machining a broad range of materials including ferous and non-ferous metals.
Diamond is the hardest material and CBN the second hardest. Synthetic diamond and CBN are produced under similar conditions although whilst diamond is synthesized from carbon CBN is manufactured from hexagonal boron nitride.
The resulting abrasives are hard, strong and resistive to thermal and chemical reaction. They retain sharp cutting edges during use and exceed the values of conventional abrasives, such as silicon carbide and aluminum oxide. In particular, the properties of high thermal stability and chemical resistance make CBN suitable for machining ferrous materials, an area where synthetic diamond abrasives are not normally employed.