The objective of this research is to examine the micro-machining responses of a hierarchical three-phase composite made up of micro-scale glass fibers that are held together by an epoxy matrix laden with nano-scale graphene platelets. To this end, micro-milling experiments are performed on both the hierarchical graphene composite as well as on a baseline two-phase glass fiber composite without the graphene additive. The composite microstructure is characterized using transmission electron microscopy and scanning electron microscopy methods. Tool wear, chip morphology, cutting force, surface roughness and delamination are employed as machinability measures. In general, the tool wear, cutting forces, surface roughness and extent of delamination are all seen to be lower for the hierarchical graphene composite. These improvements are attributed to the fact that graphene platelets improve the thermal conductivity of the matrix, provide lubrication at the tool-chip interface and also improve the interface strength between the glass fibers and the matrix. Thus, the addition of graphene to a conventional two-phase glass fiber epoxy composite is seen to not only improve its mechanical properties but also its machinability.

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