Lapping is a low-velocity abrading finishing process that removes controlled, very small amounts of material. It is accomplished with loose abrasive grains between a tolling plate or wheel (called the lap) and the work surface to be finished.
Lapping is generally a final finishing operation that results in four major refinements in the workpiece:
- extreme accuracy of dimension
- correction of minor imperfections of shape
- refinement of surface finish
- close fit between mating surfaces
Less heat is generated than in most other finishing operations, thus minimizing the possibility of rehardened and decarburized areas on hardened or heat-treated parts. Typical applications include reference surfaces and air bearings for inspection systems, microlithography equipment, scientific and medical instruments, and sealing surfaces.
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