Tribology at the Cutting Edge : A Study of Material Transfer and Damage Mechanisms in Metal Cutting

Abstract: The vision of this thesis is to improve the metal cutting process, with emphasis on the cutting tool, to enable stable and economical industrial production while using expensive tools such as hobs. The aim is to increase the tribological understanding of the mechanisms operating at a cutting edge and of how these can be controlled using different tool parameters. Such understanding will facilitate the development and implementation of future, tribologically designed, cutting tools.Common wear and failure mechanisms in gear hobbing have been identified and focused studies of the material transferred to the tool, in both metal cutting operations and in simplified tribological tests, have been conducted. Interactions between residual stresses in the tool coating and the shape of the cutting edge have also been studied.It was concluded that tool failure is often initiated via small defects in the coated tool system, and it is necessary to eliminate, or minimize, these defects in order to manufacture more reliable and efficient gear cutting tools. Furthermore, the geometry of a cutting edge should be optimized with the residual stress state in the coating, in mind. The interaction between a compressive stress and the geometry of the cutting edge will affect the stress state at the cutting edge and thus affect the practical toughness and the wear resistance of the coating in that area.An intermittent sliding contact test is presented and shown to be of high relevance for studying the interaction between the tool rake face and the chip in milling. It was also demonstrated that material transfer, that can have large effects on the cutting performance, commences already after very short contact times. The nature of the transfer may differ in different areas on the tool. It may include glassy layers, with accumulations of specific elements from the workpiece, and transfer of steel in more or less oxidized form. Both tool coating material, its surface roughness, and the relative speed between the tool surface and the chip, may influence the extent to which the different transfer will occur.