This paper investigates the feasibility of using acoustic emission (AE) signal analysis for the detection of the breakage as well as the chipping of a cutting tool during machining. Experiments were conducted on a lathe using conventional carbide insert tools under realistic cutting conditions. The tangential and feed forces were also measured for comparisons. The sensitivities of the AE signal and cutting forces to insert chipping and fracture are illustrated. The relationship between acoustic emission energy and the combined effect of fracture surface area and cutting load is discussed.

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