Machining is a popular and versatile manufacturing process that is widely used in today’s industry when producing metallic parts; however, limited tool life can make this an expensive and time consuming fabrication technique. Consequently, methods that decrease the rate of tool wear and, thus, increase tool longevity are a vital component when improving the efficiency of machining processes. To this end, cryogenically treating cutting tools (especially high-speed steel tooling) is becoming more commonplace since research has shown that the treated tooling exhibits significantly higher wear resistance. At this point, however, the effect of cryogenic treatments on ceramic tooling has not been established. Considering this, the research herein presents a feasibility study on the effectiveness of using cryogenic treatments to enhance the wear resistance of WG-300 whisker-reinforced ceramic cutting inserts. To begin, the effect of the cryogenic treatment on the insert’s hardness is examined. Subsequently, tool wear tests are conducted at various cutting speeds. Through this study, it is shown that cryogenically treating the ceramic inserts decreases the rate of tool wear at each of the cutting speeds that were tested. However, the degree of wear resistance introduced by cryogenically treating the inserts proved to be highly dependent on the cutting speed, with slower speeds exhibiting greater improvements. Thus, based on this initial study, the cryogenic treatment of ceramic tooling appears to produce beneficial results, potentially increasing the overall efficiency of machining processes.

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