Differing from synthetic types such as ceramic and synthetic plastic media, corn cob media is one of the two main forms of natural deburring media, the other being walnut shell media. Another type of natural deburring media, coconut shell media, is much less commonly used.
Since corn cobs are organic in nature, corn cob media is an environmentally-friendly alternative especially since it is biodegradable as well as being both re-usable and long-lasting. Able to be used as both deburring and tumbling media, corn cob media can be advantageous for many industrial manufacturing applications since it is capable of absorbing contaminants such as oils, grease and dirt.
Additional industries that utilize corn cob media include: construction, in which it is often used for applications involving log homes and wood refinishing; blasting, for materials such as stone, concrete, wood and various types of metals; metal finishing, for deburring, burnishing and polishing applications; and marine, to polish and deburr the bottom-side of shipping vessels.
Often used to clean and dry wet or soiled parts, corn cob media is used in many functions. Corn cob media can be used in either tumbling barrels or vibratory tumblers, so it can deburr materials or parts in two different ways.
Tumbling barrels are drum-like enclosures that employ rotational motion in order to cause deburring to occur. When used in tumbling barrels, the corn cob media is able to deburr the material in much the same way that water lapping onto shore erodes the beach.
Vibratory finishing equipment also utilize barrels in order to create friction between the corn cob media and the part requiring deburring. However, instead of rotational motion, vibratory tumblers utilize constant vibrations that cause the corn cob media to continuously grind into the parts or material and thus, remove burrs.
Corn cob media works best on softer metals such as brass and bronze. However, it can also be used to deburr materials such as brick, stone, wood and delicate surfaces.
It is most often used in vibratory finishing applications, for use in parts drying and light polishing. The typical shape of corn cob media is angular or blocky and is a very light and soft type of deburring media.