The cutting performance of sialon ceramic tools
The thesis deals with a research programme in which the cutting performance of a new generation of ceramic cutting tool material is evaluated using the turning process. In part one, the performance of commercial Kyon 2000 sialon ceramic inserts is studied when machining a hardened alloy steel under a wide range of cutting conditions. The aim is to formulate a pattern of machining behaviour in which tool wear is related to a theoretical interpretation of the temperatures and stresses generated by the chip-tool interaction. The work involves a correlation of wear measurement and metallographic examination of the wear area with the measurable cutting data. Four main tool failure modes are recognised: (a) flank and crater wear (b) grooving wear (c) deformation wear and (d) brittle failure Results indicate catastrophic edge breakdown under certain conditions. Accordingly in part two, the edge geometry is modified to give a double rake tool; a negative/positive combination. The results are reported for a range of workpiece materials under orthogonal cutting conditions. Significant improvements in the cutting performance are achieved. The improvements are explained by a study of process parameters; cutting forces, chip thickness ratio, chip contact length, temperature distribution, stress distribution and chip formation. In part three, improvements in tool performance are shown to arise when the edge chamfer on a single rake tool is modified. Under optimum edge chamfer conditions a substantial increase in tool life is obtained compared with the commercial cutting geometry.