More than three hundred flank wear profiles of carbide cutting tools were digitized, stored and analyzed. It was found that different measures of the same wear zone, such as averages or maximums including or excluding the grooves, can significantly change the out-come of tool life studies. For a given test, all the measures used in this study correlate strongly with the true overall wear average during the entire tool life. However, no conversion factor independent of cutting conditions could be found for these measures. Propagation of tool wear profiles was also analyzed. It revealed that aside from the groove zones, the entire flank face shows equal significance in describing tool wear. Thus, when a wear sensor is physically embedded on the flank face for adaptive control purposes, any location between the grooves is as good as any other.

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