In this paper, an innovative approach for the description of the functional properties of a grinding wheel surface is discussed. First, the state of the art in the description of grinding wheel topographies is summarized. Furthermore, the fundamentals for a new approach for the quantitative description of grinding wheel topographies are provided. In order to analyze the functional properties of a grinding wheel's topography depending on its specification, grinding experiments were carried out. For the experimental investigations vitrified, synthetic resin bonded and electroplated grinding wheels with varied compositions were analyzed. During the experiments, the topographies of the investigated grinding wheels have been analyzed by means of the topotool in detail. The developed software tool allows a detailed description of the kinematic cutting edges depending on the grinding process parameters and the grinding wheel specification. In addition to the calculation of the number of kinematic cutting edges and the area per cutting edge, a differentiation of the cutting edge areas in normal and tangential areas of the grinding wheel's circumferential direction is implemented. Furthermore, the topotool enables to analyze the kinematic cutting edges shape by calculating the angles of the grain in different directions. This enables a detailed analysis and a quantitative comparison of grinding wheel topographies related to different grinding wheel specifications. In addition, the influence of the dressing process and wear conditions to the grinding wheel topography can be evaluated. The new approach allows a better characterization of the contact conditions between grinding wheel and workpiece. Hence, the impact of a specific topography on the grinding process behavior, the generated grinding energy distribution, and the grinding result can be revealed.

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