Abstract

Polishing abrasives that have been bound in a solid matrix can offer several potential advantages over loose-abrasive processes with pitch or polyurethane laps for finishing of optics. These advantages include polishing efficiency, temperature stability, cost of consumables, and compatibility with computer numerically controlled generating machines. Unfortunately, little has been published on bound-abrasive polishers, and very few commercially available products exist. We have developed several compositions and manufacturing techniques that show promise for polishing a variety of optical glasses. We establish the various criteria for a successful bound-abrasive polisher. The numerous variables to be considered in designing these polishers are identified, and the results of screening experiments are used to find successful compositions. Polishing experiments with bound abrasives in arrays of pellets, as ring tools, and as full-contact laps are described.

© 1998 Optical Society of America

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