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Cutting path-dependent machinability of SiCp/Al composite under multi-step ultra-precision diamond cutting
Particle-tool interactions, which govern the synergetic deformation of SiC particle reinforced Al matrix composites under mechanical machining, strongly depend on the geometry of particle position residing on cutting path. In the present work, we investigate the influence of cutting path on the machinability of a SiCp/Al composite in multi-step ultra-precision diamond cutting by combining finite element simulations with experimental observations and characterization. Be consistent with experimentally characterized microstructures, the simulated SiCp/Al composite is considered to be composed of randomly distributed polygonally-shaped SiC particles with a volume fraction of 25vol%. A multi-step cutting strategy with depths of cut ranging from 2 to 10 μm is adopted to achieve an ultimate depth of cut of 10 μm. Intrinsic material parameters and extrinsic cutting conditions utilized in finite element simulations of SiCp/Al cutting are consistent with those used in corresponding experiments. Simulation results reveal different particle-tool interactions and failure modes of SiC particles, as well as their correlations with machining force evolution, residual stress distribution and machined surface topography. A detailed comparison between numerical simulation results and experimental data of multi-step diamond cutting of SiCp/Al composite reveals a substantial impact of the number of cutting steps on particle-tool interactions and machined surface quality. These findings provide guidelines for achieving high surface finish of SiCp/Al composites by ultra-precision diamond cutting.