A new method to measure the temperature distribution in cutting tools is reported. In this method, a thin PVD (physically vapor deposited) film deposited on a cutting tool is used as a thermal sensor. Various films of different materials are deposited to determine the location of a multiplicity of isotherms at different temperatures. Cemented carbide tools and alumina ceramic tools are used for tests. It is confirmed that the boundary between the melted film zone and the unmelted film zone shows the isotherm directly and clearly. The method is also found to be very sensitive and applicable to any tool material as well as to a very small area.

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