The objective of this paper is to understand through parametric studies the effect of microstructural parameters, viz., carbon nanotube (CNT) orientation with respect to the cutting direction, CNT loading and level of dispersion within the matrix, on the machinability of aligned CNT composites. To this end, a microstructure-based finite element machining model is used to simulate microstructures containing 1.5% and 6% by weight of CNTs. Microstructures with both uniform and non-uniform dispersion of CNTs are simulated. For each of these cases, CNTs having orientations of 0°, 45°, 90° and 135° to the cutting direction are studied. The machining simulations were conducted using a positive rake tool. Chip morphology, cutting forces, surface roughness, and surface/sub-surface damage are the machinability measures used for comparison. The results of the parametric studies demonstrate that the CNT orientation, loading and level of dispersion all play a critical role in dictating the machining response of aligned composites. The results further indicate that the surface morphology of the machined surface can be harnessed to produce the next generation of micro-fluidic devices.

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