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Key Engineering Materials Online: 2013-10-25

ISSN: 1662-9795, Vols. 589-590, pp 258-263

2014 Trans Tech Publications, Switzerland

Investigations of Surface Roughness with Cutting Speed and Cooling in

the Wear Process during Turing GH4133 with PCBN tool

Wei Ji1,a, Xianli Liu1, b, *, Fugang Yan, Shenglei Xiao1,c and Mengchao Fan1,d
Harbin University of Science and Technology, The key laboratory of National and Local United
Engineering for "High-Efficiency Cutting and Tools", Harbin, China
jiwei_399@sina.com, bxlliu@hrbust.edu.cn, c xiaoshenglei1987@163.com, d fmckaixin@163.com

Keywords: Superalloy; PCBN; Cutting speed; Cooling; Surface roughness

Abstract The high temperature strength of Ni-based superalloys coupled with excellent corrosion
resistance make them ideal for aerospace applications. However, the difficulty in finish machining
superalloys with the carbide tools presents the short tool-life. Polycrystalline Cubic Boron Nitride
(PCBN) is potential to machine superalloys. To data, there are many researches about PCBN tool
wear, but only little papers showing how the surface roughness and the wear speed are influenced
by cutting parameter and the coolant during the differences periods of PCBN tool wear. This
investigation has been conducted to show that the PCBN tool wear is slower with cooling that
without cooling during cutting superalloys with PCBN tool especially in VB up to a certain value. It
is shown that tool fracture can be reduced by using the cooling. In the process of PCBN tool wear,
in addition, there are some differences of the effect of the cooling for roughness Ra values.

Superalloys are a kind of alloy materials that have a certain inoxidizability and corrosion resistance
in the range of 600 to 1200 0C. They are extensively used in the industries of aerospace,
shipbuilding and petrochemical, and machined to different components, such as turbine blade, guide
vane, turbine disc and combustion chamber of gas turbine [1, 2]. Especially, the proportion of
Ni-based superalloys was over 50 percent in aero-engine [3].
Nowadays, finishing operations are still performed by coated carbide tools with low cutting
speed, resulting productivity is low [4]. So there is real demand that new types of tools able to
machine superalloys with higher cutting speed. However, there are a lot of problems of machining
superalloys, such as high cutting force, high cutting temperature, serious tool wear, serious surface
hardening of workpiece, difficult chip breaking, etc [5].
PCBN is known as hardest material after diamond and also a potential tool material for cutting
superalloys. Its key factors of performance are listed below:
The structure, hardness and certain material content of workpiece. G. Poulachon et al. [6] report
that Carbon content in harden steel can influence CBN tool wear. Liu [7] showed that flank wear
and crater wear in the rake face change with hardness of workpiece material. Liu showed that
PCBN tool wear is most grievous for turning hardening steel GGr15 with Rockwell hardness 50.
PCBN tool material and geometry parameters [8]. The main characteristics of material are grain
size, percentage of CBN and the type of binder. J. P. Costes et al. [9] found that it is suit for cutting
superalloy Inconel 718 with PCBN tool of 45 to 60 percent of CBN content.
Chip controlling. Ji et al. [10] found the rake face of PCBN can be scratched by chips without
fine chip controlling.
Cutting conditions. On one hand, it is important for machining quality with to choose suitable
cutting parameters. On the other hand, cooling is required for machining superalloys. Song et al. [11]
found that when PCBN was used for cutting superalloys, twice tool life can be obtained with
cooling than without cooling.
In the process of finish machining, machining allowance is often a certain constant and machined
one time, so cutting depth value is determined constantly. It is widely known that the high feed rate
makes surface quality poor, so the small feed rate is chosen. Thus, it is practical significance for

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Key Engineering Materials Vols. 589-590 259

best process plan to understand how the surface roughness is related to cutting speed and cooling
during the tool wear.

Experiment set-up
Tool-wear tests of finishing operation were conducted on CK7525 CNC turning lathe under
different cutting speeds and cooling conditions. And cutting condition parameters are shown in
Table 1. Massive water-based oil coolant (6% of oil) was used in cutting tests. A kind of PCBN tool
of ZCCCT (Zhuzhou Cemented Carbide Cutting Tools Co., Ltd) was used and its messages are
shown in Table 2.

Table 1 The data of cutting parameters and cooling condition of experiment

Text No.
C1 C2 C3 C4 C5 C6
Cutting speed [m/min] 80 120 120 160 200 200
Cutting depth [mm] 0.2
feel rate [mm/min] 0.15

Table 2 Cutting tool parameter of tool-wear test

Tool message Cutting angles of tool Chamfer parameters
Tool CBN insert Cutting Rake Inclination Flank corner width angle
holder edge angle angle angle angle radius
SSBCR SCMW1204 75 0 0 7 0.8mm 0.15mm 15
2020K12 08-YBG011
GH4133 bars of diameter 250mm and length 600mm in solution treated and age hardened
condition was used as workpiece material, and its chemical composition is given in Table 3.

Table 3 The chemical composition of GH4133 superalloy (wt%)

Chemical composition(wt%)
Ni Cr Ti A1 Nb Fe Si Mn Ce P B S C
Min. Bal 19 2.5 0.7 1.15 0
Max. 22.0 3.00 1.20 1.65 1.5 0.65 0.35 0.01 0.015 0.01 0.007 0.07

Flank face wear VB was measured on the optical microscopy KEYENECE VHX-1000. And the
standard of VB = 0.3 was used in this paper. Tool worn inserts were examined in the scanning
electron microscope (SEM) Zeiss Supra55. And Ra, which gives an arithmetic average of the
roughness, measurements were carried out with MITUTOYO SV-3000. The average of three
readings represents the surface roughness value of the machined surface.
Rake face

cuttingedge VB

Notch wear on Notch wear on

second flank edge border
Flank wear

Figure 1 The types of wear on the flank face of PCBN

260 Advances in Machining and Manufacturing Technology XII

Results and discussion

Flank wear. Fig. 1 shows the types of wear on the flank face of PCBN insert. There are three types
including notch wear on second flank, flank wear and notch wear on edge border.
It is known widely that there are three periods in the process of normal tool wear, and they are
wear initial period (WIP), wear stable period (WSP) and wear acceleration period (WAP),
respectively. The speed of wear of the WIP and WAP is faster than WSPs. Fig. 2 shows the
variation of tool flank wear, with machining time under different cutting conditions. The maximum
machining time t, 23 mins was recorded when cutting under condition C3, and the second t, 14mins
was under the C6, and the third, 10.5 mins was under the C2, and the forth, 8 mins was under the
C1, and the fifth, 6 mins was under the C4, and the last, 5mins was under the C5. The maximum of
wear speed was under C4 and C5. When VB was below about 0.025mm, the speeds of others were at
the same position except C2 that is the lowest one. When VB was beyond the value, the speed of C1
and C6 kept previous level practically. However, the speed of C2 reduced and kept about 2 minutes,
indicating that tool wear had entered WSP. And then the speed elevated radically, which is WAP.
The undulate tendency of C3 was similar with C2 except the time of WSP was about 13 mins.
C1 C2 C3
C4 C5 C6

PCBN Tool Flank Wear VB (m)

a) b)




c) d)
0 4 8 12 16 20 24
Time of Machining t (min)

Figure 2 Evolution of flank wear under different conditions

Especially, Fig. 2 a), b), c), and d) show the tool fracture pictures under different conditions. The
fracture appeared at 1st, 2nd, 2nd min and 23st under the conditions of C2, C4, C5 and C3,
The result of test shows that the tool wear is slower with cooling that without cooling during
cutting superalloys with PCBN tool especially in VB up to a certain value, and moreover, the
possibility of fracture on insert reduces also. WSP is lengthened by using the coolant. As the PCBN
tools, which have the best tool-life, have the cooling system at cutting speed of about 120 m/min
could be helpful in increasing the PCBN tool-life.
Rake wear. In previous studies, Ji et al. [11] showed the scratch induced by chips on the rake
face of PCBN tool in machining superalloy GH4169. Optical images of tool rake face under the
conditions C1- C6 are seen in Fig. 3 a) - f). The scratch on the rake face is observed in dashed
region of Fig. 3 a). When VB was up to 0.3mm, tool edge fracture occurs frequently (b), c), d), e) of
Fig. 3).
Key Engineering Materials Vols. 589-590 261

a b fracture c fracture


50 m scratch 50 m 50 m

d fracture e fracture f


50 m 50 m 50 m
Figure 3 Observation of the rake face at optical microscopy

The common types of tool fractures are brittle fracture, mechanism fatigue break and thermal
fatigue crack which caused by mechanical shock and thermal shock mainly. Fig. 4 a) and b) show
general and magnified SEM pictures of the fracture areas of the PCBN rake face under condition C5.
The surface of fracture of PCBN tool material is not smooth, which indicate that it is not brittle
fracture. Therefore, the reason of leading to tool fracture is not only mechanical shock, but also heat



Figure 4 SEM picture of fracture of PCBN tool in turning GH4133

In dry cutting, the tendency of PCBN tool fracture enhances with cutting speed increasing,
because if there is no cooling, cutting temperature is so high that fatigue resistance of tool material
drops. Coolant can reduce the temperature, and consequently the possibility of tool fracture drops.
Surface roughness. The surface roughness of workpiece can be influenced by cutting speed,
coolant, tool wear etc. And the tool wear must appear in cutting process, so in order to get best
surface roughness whether cutting parameters can be changed in process planning?
Fig. 5 compares Ra in the PCBN tool flank wear process when machining GH4133 with PCBN
tool under different conditions (C1 C6) and influencing rule is:
First, when VB was before approximate 0.16 mm, The values of Ra are below 1 m and its
tendency with cutting speed and cooling is not clear except condition C2 under which the minimum
value of Ra was obtained.
Then, Ra of C1 and C2 rose suddenly after VB was beyond 0.16 mm and below approximate 0.22
mm. There were a lot of black point (BP) on the surface of GH4133 under the conditions C1, C2
and C4.
Finally, Ra of C3, C5 and C6 kept stable and were below 1 m after VB was beyond 0.22mm.
262 Advances in Machining and Manufacturing Technology XII

C1 C2 C3
C4 C5 C6

Workpiece Surface Roughness Ra (m)

VB 0.16mm Many Black Point on
surface machined.





0.125 0.150 0.175 0.200 0.225 0.250 0.275 0.300 0.325

PCBN Flank Wear VB (mm)

Figure 5 The relationship of roughness of tool wear process under

different cutting speeds and cooling conditions

In previous studies, Ji et al. [11], there is a white layer on the surface layer of superalloy
machined. The nature and chemical stability of this layer are different with the matrix of superalloys.
According to this conjecture, maybe there are some types of chemical reaction during cutting
GH4133 with PCBN tool. Fig. 6 shows the schematic diagram of cutting regain. There are some
chemical reactions between the PCBN tool material compositions (B, N, Co, Al, etc.) and workpiece
material compositions (Ni, Cr, Ti, Al, Fe, Nb, etc.) under high temperature and high pressure within
the air environment. Certain compounds generated in cutting appear on surface of surface machined
forming BP.

PCBN insert Co Al
Pressure (BP)Certain
O2 compounds

White layer Ni Cr Ti A1 Fe Nb

body material Superalloy GH4133

Figure 6 The schematic diagram of cutting regain in cutting superalloy with PCBN

The key roles of coolant are lubrication and cooling. The effect of massive coolant is favorable
cooling, which can reduce the cutting temperature. There was no BP on the surface machined under
the cooling (C3 and C5 of Fig. 5). This point makes clear that the cutting temperature is an primary
factor to promote the chemical reactions of cutting area and generate BP phenomenon.

In this work, the surface roughness and tool wear regulars for six combinations of cutting speed and
coolant were considered. The following are the conclusions that could be derived from this
1, Cooling system at cutting speed of about 120 m/min can be helpful in increasing the PCBN
tool-life in cutting GH4133.
2, Massive coolant system can delay the fracture on the cutting edge of PCBN tool by reducing
the effect of heat impact.
Key Engineering Materials Vols. 589-590 263

3, When PCBN tools are used in machining superalloy GH4133, the best roughness Ra can be
obtained at 120 m/min without cooling before flank wear VB 0.16mm, and however, after VB is
beyond 0.16 mm, coolant can be helpful for reducing Ra value. It is significance for process
planning of finish machining during tool lifetime.

The work presented in this paper was supported by National Science and Technology Major Project
of China High-end NC machine tools and manufacturing equipment (2013ZX04009-021).

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