Analysis of the application of poly-nanocrystalline diamond tools for ultra precision machining of steel with ultrasonic assistance
Ultra-precision diamond turning enables the manufacturing of parts with mirror-like surfaces and highest form accuracies out of non-ferrous, a few crystalline and plastic materials. Furthermore, an ultrasonic assistance has the ability to push these boundaries and enables the machining of materials like steel, which is not possible in a conventional way due to the excessive tool wear caused by the affinity of carbon to iron. Usually monocrystalline diamonds tools are applied due to their unsurpassed cutting edge properties. New cutting tool material developments have shown that it is possible to produce tools made of nano-polycrystalline diamonds with cutting edges equivalent to monocrystalline diamonds. In nano-polycrystalline diamonds ultra-fine grains of a few tens of nanometers are firmly and directly bonded together creating an unisotropic structure. The properties of this material are described to be isotropic, harder and tougher than those of the monocrystalline diamonds, which are unisotropic. This publication will present machining results from the newest investigations of the process potential of this new polycrystalline cutting material. In order to provide a baseline with which to characterize the cutting material cutting experiments on different conventional machinable materials like Cooper or Aluminum are performed. The results provide information on the roughness and the topography of the surface focusing on the comparison to the results while machining with monocrystalline diamond. Furthermore, the cutting material is tested in machining steel with ultrasonic assistance with a focus on tool life time and surface roughness. An outlook on the machinability of other materials will be given.