In this paper the Sequential Function Specification Method is used to estimate the transient heat flux imposed on the rake face of the cutting tool during the cutting operation. The cutting tool is modeled as a three dimensional object. The capabilities of the geometric modeling, mesh generation as well as solver of the commercial software ANSYS is utilized in order to reduce the time expended for modeling and direct heat conduction solution. This way the inverse heat conduction algorithm employs ANSYS as a subprogram through the ANSYS Parametric Design Language (APDL). The stability as well as accuracy of the heat flux estimation is investigated using familiar triangular as well as step heat flux test cases. The effect of noise level, the number of temperature sensors as well as their locations are investigated in order to arrive at an optimal experimental procedure. Finally, a typical temperature data during the working condition are used to recover the heat flux at the cutting tool surface.

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