Experimental Study of Micro-/ Nano-Scale Cutting of Aluminum 7075 and P20 Mold Steel
Ng, Chee Keong
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The marked increase in demand for miniaturized consumer products in a broad range of potential applications including medical, telecommunication, avionics, biotechnology and electronics is a result of advancements in miniaturization technologies. Consequently, engineering components are being drastically reduced in size. This coupled with the quest for higher quality components, has imposed more stringent requirements on manufacturing processes and materials used to produce micro components. Hence, the development of ultra precision manufacturing processes to fabricate micro-scale features in engineering products has become a focal point of recent academic and industrial research. However, much attention in the area of micro-manufacturing, especially micro-mechanical machining, has been devoted to building miniature machine tools with nanometer positioning resolution and sub-micron accuracy. There is lack of fundamental understanding of mechanical machining at the micro and nano scale. Specifically, basic understanding of chip formation mechanism, cutting forces, size-effect in specific cutting energy, and machined surface integrity in micro and nano scale machining and knowledge of how these process responses differ from those in macro-scale cutting are lacking. In addition, there is a lack of investigations of micro and nano scale cutting of common engineering materials such as aluminum alloys and ferrous materials. This thesis proposes to advance the understanding of machining at the micro and nano scale for common engineering alloys. This will be achieved through a series of systematic micro and nano cutting experiments. The effects of cutting conditions on the machining forces, chip formation and machined surface morphology in simple orthogonal micro-cutting of a ferrous, P20 mold steel (30 HRC), and a non-ferrous structural alloy, aluminum AL7075 (87 HRB), used in the mold making and rapid prototyping industry will be studied. The data will also be compared with data obtained from conventional macro-scale cutting. In addition, the applicability of conventional metal cutting theory to micro and nano cutting test data will be examined. The analysis will provide a better understanding of machining forces, chip formation, and surface generation in micro and nano scale cutting process and how it differs from macro-scale cutting.