The unceasing improvements of polycrystalline diamond compact (PDC) cutters have pushed the limits of tool life and cutting efficiency in the oil and gas drilling industry. However, the still limited understanding of the cutting mechanics involved in rock cutting/drilling processes leads to unsatisfactory performance in the drilling of hard/abrasive rock formations. The Finite Element Method (FEM) holds the promise to advance the in-depth understanding of the interactions between rock and cutters. This paper presents a finite element (FE) model of three-dimensional face turning of rock representing one of the most frequent testing methods in the PDC cutter industry. The pressure-dependent Drucker-Prager plastic model with a plastic damage law was utilized to describe the elastic-plastic failure behavior of rock. A newly developed face turning testbed was introduced and utilized to provide experimental results for the calibration and validation of the formulated FE model. Force responses were compared between simulations and experiments. The relationship between process parameters and force responses and the mechanics of the process were discussed and a close correlation between numerical and experimental results was shown.

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