Abrasive ceramics are used to grind or cut away other softer material. Primarily, when considering the design of a abrasive material it is hardness and wear resistance that are of the most importance. Toughness is also considered as a necessary requirement so that the abrasive material does not shatter during grinding.

Abrasives can be either natural or synthetic. Common examples include diamond, silicon carbide SiC, tungsten carbide WC, or normal silica sand.

Abrasives may generally be either bonded to grinding wheels, coated on paper, or exist as loose grains