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Last updated: July 10, 2019

What Does Swarf Mean?

Swarf is the material that is removed by machining processes such as grinding or milling. Depending on the machining process used and the speed of the machining, swarf may be produced in many shapes and sizes from a variety of materials, including plastic, wood, metal and stone.

Swarf can be very dangerous to people in close proximity to it. Swarf can also affect the corrosion rate. If swarf from one metal is brought into contact with another metal, it could cause a form of galvanic corrosion. Since swarf typically has a high surface area to volume ratio, oxidation can occur very rapidly.


Corrosionpedia Explains Swarf

Swarf is a broad term that encompasses many different shapes, sizes and substances of removed material during a machining process. A material removal process like grinding will typically produce swarf that is a fine powder. A process such as milling can produce long, spiral-shaped chips when performed on soft, ductile metal, but it can also produce short, jagged chips if performed on a brittle metal. Swarf is often recycled.

Swarf is usually sharp and abrasive when produced by metalworking and can cause lacerations. Swarf in the form of a metal powder can break the skin if it is rubbed across an individual's body. Swarf that comes from woodworking, or sawdust, can be flammable. Swarf must be properly handled to ensure no bodily or property damage occur.


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