Chatter in metal cutting is a nonlinear self-excited vibration of the limit cycle type. This investigation is concerned with the analysis of chatter from the viewpoint of the describing function. Vibrations with different frequencies and amplitudes were superimposed on the steady feed motion of the tool in orthogonal cutting in order to simulate chatter. The relationships between the oscillating cutting and thrust forces and tool vibrations are discussed from the point of view of energy transfer and describing functions. Experimentally obtained describing functions of the dynamically varying cutting process are given. The stability of a typical machine tool structure under primary chatter conditions with dynamical cutting process represented by its describing function is discussed.

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