An investigation of the high-frequency ultrasonic vibration-assisted cutting of steel optical moulds

Canbin Zhang, Chifai Cheung, Benjamin Bulla, Chenyang Zhao

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Ultrasonic vibration-assisted cutting (UVAC) has been regarded as a promising technology to machine difficult-to-machine materials such as tungsten carbide, optical glass, and hardened steel in order to achieve superfinished surfaces. To increase vibration stability to achieve optical surface quality of a workpiece, a high-frequency ultrasonic vibration-assisted cutting system with a vibration frequency of about 104 kHz is used to machine spherical optical steel moulds. A series of experiments are conducted to investigate the effect of machining parameters on the surface roughness of the workpiece including nominal cutting speed, feed rate, tool nose radius, vibration amplitude, and cutting geometry. This research takes into account the effects of the constantly changing contact point on the tool edge with the workpiece induced by the cutting geometry when machining a spherical steel mould. The surface morphology and surface roughness at different regions on the machined mould, with slope degrees (SDs) of 0°, 5°, 10°, and 15°, were measured and analysed. The experimental results show that the arithmetic roughness Sa of the workpiece increases gradually with increasing slope degree. By using optimised cutting parameters, a constant surface roughness Sa of 3 nm to 4 nm at different slope degrees was achieved by the applied high-frequency UVAC technique. This study provides guidance for ultra-precision machining of steel moulds with great variation in slope degree in the pursuit of optical quality on the whole surface.

Original languageEnglish
Article number460
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


  • Difficult-to-machine material
  • High frequency
  • Spherical steel mould
  • Ultra-precision machining
  • Ultrasonic-assisted vibration cutting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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