On this Phase I SBIR project, Creare’s overall objective was to develop and transition a technology that will increase cutting tool life and reduce overall production costs of machining ceramic matrix composite (CMC) materials. We successfully demonstrated the feasibility of machining CMC materials using the Laser-Assisted Machining (LAM) approach, which utilizes a laser to preheat a thin layer of the CMC material prior to its removal using conventional machine tools. In particular, we demonstrated that the cutting forces were reduced by as much as 40% compared to conventional machining processes. This reduction enables increased processing speeds which decrease cycle times and overall processing costs. Additionally, we developed and validated a comprehensive thermal model for the edge machining of CMCs. When combined with the experimental results, the temperatures near the material removal interface for the optimal LAM condition were predicted.

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