The wear characteristics of polycrystalline diamond compact (PDC) drill bits were investigated in the context of drilling small holes in a hard abrasive medium. An efficient method for measuring wear of the PDC drill bits was developed. The wear test results were grouped or categorized in terms of rotary speed, feed and wear or failure characteristics. Contrary to the three classical wear phases (break-in, uniform wear and rapid breakdown) of the single material cutters, four distinctive wear phases were formed for the PDC cutters: I–break-in, II–diamond wear, III–carbide wear, and IV–rapid breakdown. The characteristics of the wear phases were identified and some suggestions were made to alleviate the wear problem.

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