Laser-assisted machining (LAM) has shown its potential to significantly reduce fabrication costs and improve product quality for advanced ceramic materials. While extensive studies have been conducted on laser-assisted turning (LAT) of various ceramics, few attempts have been made to extend LAM to milling operations. In this paper, a transient, three-dimensional thermal model is developed for laser-assisted milling (LAML) and verified by surface temperature measurements with an infrared camera. LAML experiments designed by the model are successfully conducted on silicon nitride ceramics using TiAIN coated carbide end mills. The promising experimental results, including good surface roughness and acceptable tool wear, show the validation of applying the thermal model to design LAML processes and the feasibility of employing LAML to advanced ceramics.

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