When polishing metal plates (for example, polishing teppanyaki plate) or sharpening knives, there will be small metal particles released.

I assume that these metal particles are not good for our health so I want to find whether there are some scientific articles available to support my assumption.

It leads me to have to find the correct word representing such small metal particles before looking for the scientific articles.


The technical term for the waste resulting from metal processing is "swarf." Swarf contains both metal fragments and bits of abrasive if the processing involves abrading. The former alone are called "shavings," "turnings," and "filings" according to the type of processing.

  • 1
    It is always advisable to wash recently polished or sharpened items thoroughly. – WS2 Sep 18 '15 at 9:12
  • I have of a jar of it I'm planning to make into ferrofluid, and yet I might have gone the rest of my life without ever learning this word. – Beta Sep 18 '15 at 19:26

Is it spark that you are looking for?

spark 1 (spärk)


  1. An incandescent particle, especially:

a. One thrown off from a burning substance.

b. One resulting from friction.

c. One remaining in an otherwise extinguished fire; an ember.

Definition from the Free Dictionary

  • 1
    Typically, I've only seem sparks used to describe metal particles emitting light (in this context). Usually, from grinding rather than polishing. – Michael Sep 18 '15 at 9:24
  • Incandescent being the key word here. The OP is asking about the stuff left over after the process. You will see sparks flying if you grind a metal object on a wheel, but you would only be cleaning up metallic debris, not sparks. – Chellspecker Sep 22 '15 at 22:44

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