Airborne inhalable particulate in the workplace represents a significant health hazard. One of the primary sources of this particulate is mist produced through the application of cutting fluids in machining operations. One of the important mechanisms for the production of cutting fluid mist is the atomization mechanism. In this paper, atomization is studied by applying cutting fluid to a rotating workpiece such as found in turning. An imaging system is presented for the study of the atomization mechanism. The imaging system extends the size measurement range typically achievable with aerosol sampling devices to consider larger particles. Experimental observations from the imaging system reveal that workpiece rotation speed and cutting fluid flow rate have significant effects on the size of the droplets produced by the atomization mechanism. With respect to atomization, the technical literature describes models for fluid interaction with the rotating workpiece and droplet formation via drop and ligament formation modes. Experimental measurements are compared with model predictions. For a range of rotation speeds and fluid application flow rates, the experimental data is seen to compare favorably with the model predictions.

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