All abrasive polishes are ‘foam pad and applied pressure dependant’ as far as their paint correction abilities are concerned. Any abrasive / pad combination is reliant upon its most abrasive component.
If we consider the Lake County (LC) White foam (50 PPI) polishing pad as the baseline; any polish used will derive help from the abrasive abilities of the foam. Then consider the LC Blue (70 PPI) finishing pad has no abrasive ability and will contribute nothing to the cutting capability of a polish.
What is derived from this is that a polishes abrasive ability can be ‘fine-tuned’ by using different combinations (abrasiveness) of polish and foam (the same thing is true of wool pads) and of course differing the amount of downward pressure (10-15 Lbs is the usual range) applied will also have an effect on the abrasives capability
Different pad / product combinations (least abrasive pad / polish first) This is why a ‘test’ spot is so important.
a) Base pad / product (least abrasive pad / product) if this combination does not provide the desired results, increase the aggressiveness of the technique or product selection.
b) Step-up 1 - using the same pad with a more abrasive product
c) Step-up II – use a less abrasive pad and the same product as used in step-up I
d) Step-up III- using the same pad with a more abrasive product
As can been ascertained from the above the total abrasive ability of a polish / foam pad combination is subject to many variables, the polishes abrasive ability is just the starting point
Rupes Random Orbital Polishers
Factors that increase abrasion ability
· Increased speed (Velocity)
· Increased pressure (Compression)
· Use smaller pad(Reduced surface Area)
· Using a slower panel transition speed (Increased surface contact time)
· Reduce the working area
The key to the polishing process is to know how the paint will react with each pad / polish combination you consider using. You must know your product and what its capabilities are before using it. This is why a ‘test’ spot is so important.
The factors that affect the outcome -speed, friction (kinetic energy) applied pressure, foam pad actual surface contact area, pad grit number (abrasive ability) amount of surface lubrication available, the surface area and heat conductivity of material
All pads have a performance cycle, meaning you will get the desired results only to a certain point on that curve. The point of declining performance is typically reached by polish / compound pad being overloaded with product; you should always be able to see the individual cells or texture of the pad, with proper, regular cleaning pad overload can be avoided.
Clean (or replace) you pads frequently: pads are easy to clean; the slotted pad face actually makes it easy to clean. Do not use the same pad to apply differing products as cross contamination will reduce the effectiveness or completely negate their purpose. A new or freshly cleaned pad must be used with each type of car care product.
Other articles from this series - TOGWT Detailing Wiki Articles – Polishing Index
1. Base Coat Clear Coat (BC / CC) Paint System
2. The Physics of Polishing
The Wipedown Process (prior to polishing)
6. Paint (Solvent / Alcohol) Swelling
7. Test Panel (polishes and pad selection)
Hard and Soft Paint
Always be willing to learn; because the more you learn, the more you’ll realize what you don’t know. It is said that knowledge is power, with the caveat that it includes access to a reliable information sources. I would like to think that these articles become an asset to anyone who is new to detailing and to professional’s alike, as well as industry experts who seek to advance their knowledge.
I hope these articles are informative. They are based on the current status of technical development as well as my experience with the products.
By having some understanding of the ‘What’ and ‘Why’ as well as the ‘How’ along with a little science to help you understand how the chemicals we use react, you can achieve the results you desire.
I would appreciate it if you would share these articles as it helps other detailers further their knowledge.
As always if you have questions, I’ll do my best to answer; bear in mind the only stupid questions is the one that was unasked. Questions and/ or constructive comments are always appreciated
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