A technique is developed for measuring accurately the flank wear by using polished tungsten carbide tool tips. The technique is applied to the study of the variation of machinability in mild steel bars and of the possible effect of surface finish of tool face on the wear rate. The specific wear rate, which is the volume of material worn away per unit contact area per unit distance of rubbing, is used to analyze the results on flank wear in this investigation and Trent’s results on crater wear. The constants in an equation representing Trent’s results and in Taylor’s equation for tool life are shown to have physical meanings and to be related to the specific wear rate. The reciprocal of the specific wear rate may be used as a machinability index.

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