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Micro-Liter Lubrication Machining of Inconel 718

Micro-Liter Lubrication Machining of Inconel 718

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Micro-liter lubrication machining of Inconel 718
Toshiyuki Obikawa
, Yasuhiro Kamata
, Yuki Asano
, Kousuke Nakayama
, Andrew W. Otieno
Institute of Industrial Science, The University of Tokyo, 4-6-1 Komaba Meguro-ku, Tokyo 153-8505, Japan
Department of Mechanical and Control Engineering, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Tokyo 152-8552, Japan
Department of Technology, Northern Illinois University, Dekalb, IL 60115, USA
a r t i c l e i n f o
 Article history:
Received 18 January 2008Received in revised form29 July 2008Accepted 31 July 2008Available online 3 August 2008
MQL machiningInconel 718Control of oil-mist flow
a b s t r a c t
Minimum quantity lubrication (MQL) machining is one of the promising solutions to the requirementfor decrease in cutting fluid consumption. This paper describes MQL machining in a range of oilconsumption
1.0ml/h, which is 10–100 times smaller than the consumption usually adopted inindustries. MQL machining in this range is called micro-liter lubrication machining in this paper.A specially designed nozzle was used for concentrating small amounts of oil mist onto the cuttinginterface. The performance of concentrated spraying of oil mist in micro-liter lubrication machiningof Inconel 718 was investigated and compared with that of ordinary spraying. This proved that theconcentrated spraying of oil mist with a specially designed nozzle was quite effective in increasing toollife in the micro-liter lubrication range.
2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
1. Introduction
These days, it is widely known that cutting fluids have animpact on the environment and human health. Therefore, it isrequired to reduce the consumption of these fluids withoutdecreasing tool life. The use of biodegradable oils that do notcontain harmful elements and compounds such as extreme-pressure additives is also recommended. In addition, the powerconsumption and maintenance for operating a traditional cuttingfluid supply system increase machining cost. Thus, if possible, it isdesirable to remove such equipment from a machine tool. Themost promising solution to these requirements is minimumquantity lubrication (MQL) machining, which has been appliedto milling[1–3], drilling[4,5],turning[6,7]and so on. Studies on MQL show very promising results although not all of them havebeen compared to those of wet cutting[4–7].In MQL machining, a small amount of biodegradable lubricantis sprayed to the cutting point with compressed air, typically atconsumptions of 10–100ml/h. Accordingly, the method used tospray oil mist to the cutting point affects the performance of MQL machining. For a certain amount of oil consumption, there arethree important factors associated with the spray of oil mist:pressure of compressed air, spray direction and distance from thenozzle to the cutting point. Recently, it was found that tool weardecreased with increasing pressure of compressed air when theoil mist was sprayed to a semi-closed space as in the case of grooving[8]. On the other hand, minimal tool wear occurred at anoptimum pressure when oil mist was sprayed into an open space,as in the case of turning[9,10]. It was also found that appropriatecontrol of spray direction using a controlled oil-mist direction(COD) tool decreased tool wear effectively[8].With respect to the position of the nozzle relative to thecutting point, it is natural that the concentration of oil mistdecreases with the distance. Thus, a large fraction of oil sprayedmay be waste, without lubricating the surface of the tool if thenozzle is not placed close to the cutting point. According tocomputational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis of oil-mist flow, onlya small fraction of oil mist contributes to the lubrication at aninterface between the tool flank face and the finished workpiecesurface[11]. Typically, the value of the fraction is approximately0.01%, but depends on conditions for MQL machining[11]. Bycontrast, if the nozzle is very close to the cutting point, and oilmist is sprayed as a pinpointed jet from the side of the tool flank,the sprayed oil would enter the interface between the tool flankface and machined surface, thus act more effectively. However, itis still not easy to optimize the conditions of MQL because of insufficient information on effective method to spray oil mist. Forthe above reasons, specially designed nozzles were set very closeto the tool tip in this study.The workpiece used was a nickel-base superalloy Inconel 718,a difficult-to-machine material characterized by unfavorablemachining properties such as high temperature strength, hothardness, low thermal conductivity and high chemical affinity tomost tool materials[12,13]. These characteristics cause severe andrapid tool wear in high-speed machining. For this reason, finishmachining of Inconel 718 has been carried out at low cutting
Contents lists available atScienceDirectjournal homepage:www.elsevier.com/locate/ijmactool
International Journal of Machine Tools & Manufacture
0890-6955/$-see front matter
2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.doi:10.1016/j.ijmachtools.2008.07.011
Corresponding author. Tel.: +81354526771; fax: +81354526773.
E-mail address:
obikawa@iis.u-tokyo.ac.jp (T. Obikawa).International Journal of Machine Tools & Manufacture 48 (2008) 1605–1612
speeds with flood coolant recommended for cooling the tool andworkpiece. Nevertheless, a new trend arose in the machining of nickel-base superalloys from an environmental point of view[14]and MQL machining has been applied to the superalloys[6,9,10].In this paper, the specially designed nozzles were appliedto MQL turning of Inconel 718 and their performances wereinvestigated based on tool life and surface finish. The ranges of oilconsumption were set from 0.2 to 15ml/h, in which machining atoil consumption of 
1.0ml/h is called micro-liter lubrication(
LL) machining.
2. Experimental details
 2.1. Oil-mist supply system and three types of nozzles
The schematic diagram of an oil-mist supply system is showninFig.1.Cutting oil, a kind of biodegradable ester with properties given inTable 1, was supplied from a graduated cylinder gaugewith a plunger pump at oil consumption rates
of 0.20, 0.50, 1.1,3.0 and 15ml/h. Because the inner diameter and the minimumscale of the cylinder gauge were 2.45mm and 0.02ml, respec-tively, it was possible to measure the oil consumption accuratelyeven if 
0.2ml/h. The ester and compressed air were suppliedthrough inner and outer spaces of a double-walled pipe, re-spectively, to an inlet bore of a tool shank. They were mixed thereto form oil mist. The mist was sprayed to the cutting point fromonly a nozzle on the tool flank. The pressure of compressed air
was 0.40MPa. This pressure setting was chosen because it hadbeen found to bring about the longest tool lives in previousstudies[9,10].Three types of nozzles were applied to MQL turning: anordinary type, and cover types for normal and oblique spraying(Figs. 2–4, respectively). The angle of oblique spraying is 45
. Theeffectiveness of oblique spraying was suggested by CFD analysisof oil-mist flow.Fig. 5shows a calculated flow pattern of oil mistsprayed from the ordinary nozzle[11]. In this figure, oil mist issprayed downward as in the case of practical CNC machining. Theworkpiece is taken into account in CFD analysis, but is neglectedin flow pattern presentation inFig. 5. The depth of cut, feedrate,air pressure, and position and shape of the nozzle are the same asin this study. It was seen that oil mist is likely to flow to the sidecutting edge more than the end cutting edge. Hence, the cover-type nozzle for oblique spraying was prepared to spray oil mistobliquely from the side of the end cutting edge so that sufficientoil mist is sprayed to the end cutting edge.A tool shank with the ordinary type of nozzle, 1.0mm indiameter, was on the market. The distance from the nozzle to thetool tip
was 14.7mm for the ordinary nozzle as shown inFig. 2.A cover type of nozzle for normal spraying was prepared byputting three pieces of polyvinylchloride (PVC) sheet on the flankface to make a straight oil-mist guide from the ordinary nozzle,then covering the flank face with a sheet of cupper and leaving anozzle for concentrating the oil mist to the tool tip. The distancefrom the nozzle to the tool tip was 4.8mm, the same as thethickness of the insert, and the thicknesses of PVC and cuppersheets were 0.4 and 0.1mm, respectively. This is illustrated inFig. 3. Thus, the cover would not interfere with either the rotatingworkpiece bar or the insert indexing. The cross-sectional areaof the nozzle was 3.90mm
, approximately five times larger thanthe cross-sectional area of the ordinary-type nozzle. A cover typeof nozzle for oblique spraying was prepared similar to that fornormal spraying, but its oil-mist guide is bent sharply as shown inFig. 4. The covers did not affect the oil consumption, but affectedthe flow rate of compressed air. The flow rate decreased as thenozzle was extended and became more complicated: 73.8, 72.7and 66.0Nl/min for an ordinary nozzle and cover-type nozzles fornormal and oblique spraying, respectively.
 2.2. Variation of oil consumption during pumping interval
The plunger pump inFig. 1dispensed oil intermittently.Interval of pumping oil was not short: 1.0, 3.4, 3.4, 5.5 and 15.0sfor
15.0, 3.0, 1.1, 0.50 and 0.20ml/h, respectively. Hence,change in the amount of oil mist sprayed from an ordinary nozzleduring an interval was measured with an apparatus shown in
Fig. 1.
Oil-mist supply system.
 Table 1
Properties of biodegradable esterDensity (15
C) (g/cm
) 0.95Kinematic viscosity (40
C) (mm
/s) 19Flash point (COC) (
C) 250Viscosity index 137Pour point (
45.0Acid number (mg KOH/g) 0.02Biodegradability OECD301B (%) 72
Fig. 2.
Ordinary-type nozzle.
T. Obikawa et al. / International Journal of Machine Tools & Manufacture 48 (2008) 1605–1612
Fig. 6. Four filter papers, A, B, C and D, 70mm in diameter, whichwere each weighed with an electronic balance a priori, wereplaced on four quadrants of a round acrylic resin plate 184mm indiameter and separated with four partitions of acrylic resin60mm high. The oil mist was sprayed from the ordinary nozzlenormally to the round plate at three different oil consumptionsof 0.22, 0.60 and 1.1ml/h. The period of the plate rotation mustbe the same as that of pumping oil so that the pump couldalways dispense oil when the nozzle came to a position 67mmright above the center of a filter paper on quadrant A. Thus, theinterval of oil pumping was always fixed at 15.0s for the three oilconsumptions while the amount of oil pushed at a time waschanged.After 120 turns, each sheet of filter paper was weighed again tonote an increase in the paper’s weight due to oil absorption.Fig. 7shows the weight increments normalized with respect to thevalue of filterpaper A foreach rate of oil consumption. It is naturalthat filter paper D showed the smallest increase in weight amongthe four filter papers. From the result, decrease in absorbedoil during an interval was 20% at worst. Therefore, even if thepumping interval increases to 15s, oil mist was found to besupplied to the cutting point continuously and at a nearlyconstant rate. The inlet bore and unused piping holes in the toolshank must have worked as storages of oil and oil mist, andcontributed to the continuous oil spraying.
 2.3. Workpiece, tool and cutting conditions
Table 2shows the chemical composition of the forged work-piece barof nickel-base superalloy Inconel 718. It was heat treatedby solution annealing at 1000
C for an hour followed byprecipitation hardening at 721
C for 8h and at 620
C for another8h. Vickers hardness, 0.2% proof stress, tensile strength andelongation of the workpiece are 440HV, 1189, 1363MPa and 22%,respectively. Before the cutting experiment, the outer part of the specimen over-hardened by heat treatment was machined,resulting in a reduction of diameter by 15mm.Coated carbide inserts with multiple CVD coatings of TiCN/Al
/TiN were used in this study, but they are differentfrom CVD inserts used in a previous study[10]. The types of toolinsert and holder were DNMG150404 and PDJNR2525, respec-tively. Depth of cut
was set at 0.1mm, feedrate
was 0.1mm/revand cutting speed was 1.3m/s (78m/min), a rather high cuttingspeed for Inconel 718. The small depth of cut and feedrate wereselected on the supposition that a near-net-shaped workpiecewould be finish-turned on a CNC lathe. Under these conditions,corner wear was dominant. This is because the nose radius of theinsert
was 0.4mm and ratio
0.25 was less than the criticalvalue for the development of large notch wear: 1
0.29.Hence, tool life was defined as cutting distance or cutting time atwhich the corner wear reached avalue of 0.20mm. Inwet cutting,
Fig. 3.
Cover-type nozzle for normal spraying. (a) Tool without a cover of copper sheet and (b) complete tool.
Fig. 4.
Cover-type nozzle for oblique spraying. (a) Tool without a cover of copper sheet and (b) complete tool.
T. Obikawa et al. / International Journal of Machine Tools & Manufacture 48 (2008) 1605–1612

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