A 100Cr6 (AISI E52100) steel in the hardness range of 180 to 750 HV10 was machined. Quick stop tests were carried out at various hardness values to observe the different chip formation mechanisms. A limit was found between the shearing and cracking chip formation. Experiments on the selected steel at 750 HV10 were carried out at various cutting speeds and feed rates. The “saw tooth chips” obtained were examined geometrically and metallurgically on longitudinal midsections. A relationship has been established between the chip geometry and the cutting conditions. A theoretical study of the chip shape was made, in particular its thickness. The friction stick slip velocities, and the segment apparition frequency were calculated. Each stage of the chip formation could be observed on each micrograph of Q.S.T, especially the crack initiation. A discussion on the apparition of the thin white layers is also proposed.

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