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Modelling metal cutting using modern ductile fracture mechanics: Quantitative explanations for some longstanding problems

Atkins, A.G. (2003) Modelling metal cutting using modern ductile fracture mechanics: Quantitative explanations for some longstanding problems. International Journal of Mechanical Sciences, 45 (2). pp. 373-396. ISSN 0020-7403

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/S0020-7403(03)00040-7


The assumption that negligible work is involved in the formation of new surfaces in the machining of ductile metals, is re-examined in the light of both current Finite Element Method (FEM) simulations of cutting and modern ductile fracture mechanics. The work associated with separation criteria in FEM models is shown to be in the kJ/m2 range rather than the few J/m2 of the surface energy (surface tension) employed by Shaw in his pioneering study of 1954 following which consideration of surface work has been omitted from analyses of metal cutting. The much greater values of surface specific work are not surprising in terms of ductile fracture mechanics where kJ/m2 values of fracture toughness are typical of the ductile metals involved in machining studies. This paper shows that when even the simple Ernst–Merchant analysis is generalised to include significant surface work, many of the experimental observations for which traditional ‘plasticity and friction only’ analyses seem to have no quantitative explanation, are now given meaning. In particular, the primary shear plane angle φ becomes material-dependent. The experimental increase of φ up to a saturated level, as the uncut chip thickness is increased, is predicted. The positive intercepts found in plots of cutting force vs. depth of cut, and in plots of force resolved along the primary shear plane vs. area of shear plane, are shown to be measures of the specific surface work. It is demonstrated that neglect of these intercepts in cutting analyses is the reason why anomalously high values of shear yield stress are derived at those very small uncut chip thicknesses at which the so-called size effect becomes evident. The material toughness/strength ratio, combined with the depth of cut to form a non-dimensional parameter, is shown to control ductile cutting mechanics. The toughness/strength ratio of a given material will change with rate, temperature, and thermomechanical treatment and the influence of such changes, together with changes in depth of cut, on the character of machining is discussed. Strength or hardness alone is insufficient to describe machining. The failure of the Ernst–Merchant theory seems less to do with problems of uniqueness and the validity of minimum work, and more to do with the problem not being properly posed. The new analysis compares favourably and consistently with the wide body of experimental results available in the literature. Why considerable progress in the understanding of metal cutting has been achieved without reference to significant surface work is also discussed.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of the Built Environment
ID Code:11755

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