A study of mechanics in brittle-ductile cutting mode transition

Gaobo Xiao, Mingjun Ren, Suet To

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents an investigation of the mechanism of the brittle-ductile cutting mode transition from the perspective of the mechanics. A mechanistic model is proposed to analyze the relationship between undeformed chip thickness, deformation, and stress levels in the elastic stage of the periodic chip formation process, regarding whether brittle or ductile mode deformation is to follow the elastic stage. It is revealed that, the distance of tool advancement required to induce the same level of compressive stress decreases with undeformed chip thickness, and thereby the tensile stress below and behind the tool decreases with undeformed chip thickness. As a result, the tensile stress becomes lower than the critical tensile stress for brittle fracture when the undeformed chip thickness becomes sufficiently small, enabling the brittle-ductile cutting mode transition. The finite element method is employed to verify the analysis of the mechanics on a typical brittle material 6H silicon carbide, and confirmed that the distance of the tool advancement required to induce the same level of compressive stress becomes smaller when the undeformed chip thickness decreases, and consequently smaller tensile stress is induced below and behind the tool. The critical undeformed chip thicknesses for brittle-ductile cutting mode transition are estimated according to the proposed mechanics, and are verified by plunge cutting experiments in a few crystal directions. This study should contribute to better understanding of the mechanism of brittle-ductile cutting mode transition and the ultra-precision machining of brittle materials.

Original languageEnglish
Article number49
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jan 2018


  • Brittle-ductile cutting mode transition
  • Critical undeformed chip thickness
  • Mechanics analysis
  • Silicon carbide
  • Ultra-precision machining

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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