We investigate the stability of the regenerative machine tool chatter problem, in a turning process modeled using delay differential equations (DDEs). An approach using the matrix Lambert function for the analytical solution to systems to delay differential equations is applied to this problem and compared with the result obtained using a bifurcation analysis. The Lambert function, known to be useful for solving scalar first order DDEs, has recently been extended to a matrix Lambert function approach to solve systems of DDEs. The essential advantage of the matrix Lambert approach is not only the similarity to the concept of the state transition matrix in linear ordinary differential equations, enabling its use for general classes of linear delay differential equations, but also the observation that we need only the principal branch among an infinite number of roots to determine the stability of a system of DDEs. The bifurcation method combined with Sturm sequences provides an algorithm for determining the stability of DDEs without restrictive geometric analysis. With this approach, one can obtain the critical values of delay which determine the stability of a system and hence the preferred operating spindle speed without chatter. We apply both the matrix Lambert function and the bifurcation analysis approach to the problem of chatter stability in turning, and compare the results obtained to existing methods. The two new approaches show excellent accuracy, and certain other advantages, when compared to traditional graphical, computational and approximate methods.

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