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Title: Tooling performance in micro milling : modelling, simulation and experimental study
Author: Wu, Tao
ISNI:       0000 0004 2730 7870
Awarding Body: Brunel University
Current Institution: Brunel University
Date of Award: 2012
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With the continuing trend towards miniaturization, micro milling plays an increasingly important role in fabrication of freeform and high-accuracy micro parts or components directly and cost-effectively. The technology is in kinematics scaled down from the conventional milling, however, existing knowledge and experiences are limited and comprehensive studies on the micro tooling performance are essential and much needed particularly for the process planning and optimization. The cutting performance of micro tools is largely dependent on the dynamic performance of machine tools, tooling characteristics, work material properties and process conditions, and the latter three aspects will be focused in the study. The state of the art of micro milling technology with respect to the tooling performance has been critically reviewed, together with modelling work for performance prediction as well as metrology and instrumentation for the performance characterization. A novel 3D finite element method taking into account the geometry of a micro tool, including the tool diameter, rake angle, relief angle, cutting edge radius and helix angle, has been proposed for modelling and simulation of the micro milling process. Validation through well-designed micro milling trials demonstrates that the approach is capable of characterizing the milling process effectively. With the support of FEM simulation developed, the tooling geometrical effects, including those from helix angle, rake angle and cutting edge radius with influences on cutting forces, tool stresses, tool temperatures, milling chip formation and temperatures have been comprehensively studied and compared for potential micro tool design and optimization purposes. In an effort to prolong the tool life and enhance the tooling efficiency, DLC and NCD coatings have been deposited on micro end mills by PE-CVD and HF-CVD processes respectively. Corresponding cutting performance of these coated tools have been assessed and compared with those of WC micro tools in both dry and wet cutting conditions so as for better understanding of the coating influence on micro tools. Furthermore, the cutting characteristics of the DLC coated and uncoated tools have been analysed through verified plane-strain simulations. The effects of coating friction coefficient, coating thickness and UCT have been determined and evaluated by design of simulation method. Mechanical, chemical and physical properties of a work material have a direct influence on its micro-machinability. Five most common engineering materials including Al 6061-T6, C101, AISI 1045, 304 and P20, have been experimentally investigated and their micro milling behaviours in terms of the cutting forces, tool wear, surface roughness, and micro-burr formation have been compared and characterized. Feed rate, cutting speed and axial depth of cut constitute the complete set of process variables and they have significant effects on the tooling performance. Fundamental understanding of their influences is essential for production engineers to determine optimum cutting parameters so as to achieve the maximum extension of the tool life. 3D FE-based simulations have been carried out to predict the process variable effects on the cutting forces, tool stresses, tool temperatures as well as micro milling chip formation and temperatures. Furthermore, experimental approach has been adopted for the surface roughness characterization. Suggestions on selecting practical cutting variables have been provided in light of the results obtained. Conclusions with respect to the holistic investigation on the tooling performance in micro milling have been drawn based on the research objectives achieved. Recommendations for future work have been pointed out particularly for further future research in the research area.
Supervisor: Cheng, K. Sponsor: Brunel University ; UK Technology Strategy Board (TSB)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Tooling geometry ; Diamond-like carbon ; Nano-crystalline diamond ; Material properties ; Process variables