Journal of Materials Processing Technology 134 (2003) 233-253

M aterials Processing Technology

Journal of

An overview of the machinability of aeroengine alloys
E.O. Ezugwua"*, J. Bonneya, Y. Yamaneb
^Machining Research Centre, School of Engineering, South Bank University, 103 Bomugh Ruad, Lundon SE] OAA, UK ^Department of Engineering, Hiroshima University, 1-4-1 Kagamiyama, Higashi Hiroshima 739-8527, Jopan Received 8 October 2001; received in revised form 26 April 2002; accepted 29 October 2002

Abstract Advanced materials such as aeroengine alloys, structural ceramics and hardened steel provide a serious challenge for cutting tool materials during machining due to their unique combinations of properties such as high temperature strength, hardness and chemical wear resistance. Although these properties are desirable design requirements, they pose a greater challenge to manufacturing engineers due to the high temperatures and stresses generated during machining. The poor thermal conductivity of these alloys result in concentration of high temperatures at the tool-workpiece interface. This is worsened at higher cutting conditions because of the significant reduction in the strength and hardness of the cutting tooUThis weakens the bonding strength of the tool substrate, thereby accelerating tool wear by mechanical (abrasión and attrition) and thermally related (diffusion and plástic deformation) mechanisms. Therefore, cutting tools used for machining aerospace materials must be able to maintain their hardness and other mechanical properties at higher cutting temperatures encountered in high speed machining. Tool materials with improved hardness like cemented carbides (including coated carbides), ceramics and cubic boron nitride (CBN) are the most frequently used for machining aeroengine alloys. Despite the superior hardness and cutting performance of CBN tools, ceramic tools are generally preferred for high speed continuous machining because of their much lower cost. Tmprovements in machining productivity can also be achieved with the latest machining techniques such as ramping or taper turning and rotary machining. These techniques often minimise or completely eliminate the predominant notching of the cutting tools, consequently resulting in catastrophic fracture of the entire cutting edge when machining aeroengine alloys. © 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Machinability; Aeroengine alloys; Titanium; Nickel-based alloys

1. Introduction

An aircraft engine consists of three main subassemblies, namely compressor, combustor and turbine housed in an aluminium and/or titanium casing. Materials and alloys used for aeroengine manufacture are generally alloys of steel, nickel, titanium and aluminium. Other materials are carbón, ceramic and metal-matrix composites. These materials provide high temperature properties, corrosión resistance and high strength-to-weight ratio to ensure efficient fuel consumption for economic operation of flights and longer operational life. Titanium and nickel-based alloys best satisfy these criteria when compared to steel which is very dense, and whose uses are limited to smaller components.

Carbón composites have been in use in aeroengine since the 1970s in smaller quantities, but they are now gaining more recognition due to their improved properties and manufacturing processes. Fig. 1 shows the weight percentage for each material in a typical aerogas turbine. There is an increasing use of nickel-based and titanium alloys up till the end of the 20th century, suggesting their dominant and competitive use in aerospace engines. This paper provides an overview of the machinability of aerospace engine materials with emphasis on titanium and nickel-based alloys due to their present and future dominance of a typical aircraft engine.
2. Nickel-based alloys

" Corresponding author. Fax: +44-20-7815-7696. Email address: ezugwueo@sbu.ac.uk (E.O. Ezugwu).

Nickel-based alloys are the most widely used superalloy, accounting for about 50 wt.% of materials used in

0924-0136/02/S - see front matter © 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved. PII: 50924-0136(02)01042-7