This study focuses on addressing the severe plastic deformation (SPD) behavior and the effects of machining parameters on microstructure alternations in machined surface created from high-speed machining. A finite element (FE) model is proposed to predict the orthogonal machining of Al6061-T6 alloys at high speeds. By extracting strains, strain rates, stresses, and temperatures from this model, a dislocation density-based model is incorporated into it as a user-defined subroutine to predict dislocation densities and grain sizes in machined surface. The predicted results show that dislocation densities decrease with the depths below the machined surface, but grain sizes present an opposite tendency. Higher cutting speeds are associated with thinner plastic deformation layers. Dislocation densities decrease with cutting speeds, but grain sizes increase with cutting speeds in machined surface. Dislocation densities decrease initially and then increase with feed rates. There exists a critical feed rate to generate the maximum SPD layer in machined surface. Tool rake angle has a great impact on the depth of plastic deformation layer. Thus, it affects the distributions of dislocation densities and grain sizes. A large negative rake angle can induce an increased dislocation density in machined surface. The predicted chip thicknesses, cutting forces, distributions of dislocation densities, and grain sizes within the range of machining parameters have good agreement with experiments in terms of chip morphology, cutting forces, microstructure, and microhardness in chip and machined surface.

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