A model for the plastic deformation that occurs in metal cutting, based on dislocation mechanics, is presented. The model explains the fundamental deformation structure that develops during machining and is based on the well known Cottrell-Stokes Law, wherein the flow stress is partitioned into two parts; an athermal part which occurs in the shear fronts (or shear bands); and a thermal part which occurs in the lamella regions. The deformation envokes the presence of a cellular dislocation distribution which always exists in the material ahead of the shear process. This “alien” dislocation distribution either exists in the metal prior to cutting or is produced by the compressive stress field which operates in front of the shear process. The magnitude of the flow stress and direction of the shear are shown to be correlated to the stacking fault energy of the metal being cut. The model is tested with respect to energy consumption rates and found to be consistent with observed values.

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