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Chip Formation during Machining Process

Importance of Studying Chip Formation during Machining

As every one knows, chips are formed during the machining of workpieces. The side of the chip in contact with the cutting tool is normally shiny, flat and smooth while the other side, which is the free workpiece surface, is jagged due to shear. It is important to study the formation of chips during the machining process as the former affects the surface finish, cutting forces, temperature, tool life and dimensional tolerance. Understanding the chip formation during the machining process for the specific materials will allow us to determine the machining speeds, feed rates and depth of cuts for efficient machining and increased tool life in the specific actual machining operation. During the machining process, 4 basic types of chips are formed:

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Discontinuous Continuous Continuous with Built-up Edge Serrated chip formation

Discontinuous Chip Formation

Discontinuous chip formation normally occurs during the machining of brittle work material such as glass and silicon. This type of chips also occurs when machining using cutting tools with small rake angles, coarse machining feeds (large depth of cut), low cutting speeds and lack of lubricant or cutting fluid. Discontinuous chip formation leads to continuously changing forces, resultant vibration and chattering in the machine tools and thus results in a final workpiece with poor surface finish and loose tolerance.
Continuous Chip Formation

Continuous chip formation is normally considered to be the ideal condition for efficient cutting action as it gives excellent finish and occurs usually for ductile metals. The chip consists of a continuous "ribbon" of metal which flows up the chip-tool zone. It normally occurs at high cutting speed and rake angle, and a narrow shear zone. Use chip breakers during the machining to prevent the chips from entangling with the tool holder.
Continuous with Built-up Edge Chip Formation

Continuous chips with built-up edge is basically the same as continuous chips. However, during the former chip formation, as the metal flows up the chip-tool zone, small particles of the metal begin to adhere or weld themselves to the edge of the cutting tool. As the particles continue to weld to the tool, it affects the cutting action of the tool. This type of chip formation is common in machining of softer non-ferrous metals and low carbon steels. Common problems are the built-up edges breaking off and being embedded in the workpiece during machining, decrease in tool-life and final poor surface finish of the workpiece. Built-up-edge (BUE) forms when there is a chemical affinity between workpiece and the tool, such as in cases of high strainhardening, low feed speed, large depth of cut, low rake angle and high temperature. Here, the chip becomes unstable, breaks up and then forms again. The process is repeated continuously. BUE chip formation during machining would degrade the surface finish and changes the tool geometry. Studies on the built-up edges have shown that the chip material is welded, deformed and then deposited onto the rake face of the tool layer by layer. It is thus possible to observe the presence of built-up edges by studying the back face of the chip during the machining process. This is normally used in micro or ultra precision machining operation. To reduce built-up edges, improve the lubrication conditions, use sharp tools and better surface finish tool and also apply ultrasonic vibration during the machining process.
Serrated Chip Formation

Serrated chips are formed during the machining of semicontinuous material with zones of high and low shear strains. It normally occurs in metals where the strength decreases sharply with temperature. An example would be titanium.