A study has been made of the effect of an externally imposed, low-frequency modulation (≤ 100 Hz) on the action of a fluid in machining. It is shown that in conventional machining, fluid action in terms of lubrication is essentially confined to the edges of chip-tool contact along the tool rake face, with little or no change in the friction condition over much of this face. However, the effectiveness of the lubricating action is significantly enhanced when a controlled low-frequency modulation of sufficient amplitude, such as to break the chip-tool contact, is imposed in the direction of cutting. Measurements show that the friction coefficient between tool and chip is reduced by a factor of up to three in the presence of such a modulation. The extent of the secondary deformation zone in the chip material close to the rake face is also significantly reduced. Direct observations of the tool rake face show that when the modulation is applied, the fluid penetrates into much of the intimate contact region between chip and tool.

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