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In situ investigation of nanometric cutting of 3C-SiC using scanning electron microscope
Experimentally revealing the nanometric deformation behavior of 3C-SiC is challenging due to its ultra-small feature size for brittle-to-ductile transition. In the present work, we elucidated the nanometric cutting mechanisms of 3C-SiC by performing in situ nanometric cutting experiments under scanning electron microscope (SEM), as well as post-characterization by electron back-scattered diffraction (EBSD) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). In particular, a new method based on the combination of image processing technology and SEM online observation was proposed to achieve in situ measurement of cutting force with an uncertainty less than 1 mN. Furthermore, the cutting cross-section was characterized by atomic force microscope (AFM) to access the specific cutting energy. The results revealed that the specific cutting energy increase non-linearly with the decrease of cutting depth due to the size effect of cutting tool in nanometric cutting. The high-pressure phase transformation (HPPT) may play the major role in 3C-SiC ductile machining under the parameters of this experiment.