Abrasive waterjet machining of polymer matrix composites - Cutting performance, erosive process and predictive models

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An investigation of the cutting performance and erosive process in abrasive waterjet (AWJ) machining of polymer matrix composites is presented. It shows that AWJ cutting can produce good quality kerf at high production rate if the cutting parameters are properly selected. Plausible trends of the cutting performance, as assessed by the various kerf geometry and quality measures, with respect to process parameters are discussed. The traverse speed, water pressure and abrasive flow rate are found to have profound effect on the total depth of cut and kerf taper angle, while the first two variables also affect heavily on the kerf width. The study shows that the optimum jet forward impact angle in the cutting plane is about 80 which increases only marginally the total depth of cut and has little effect on the other kerf characteristics. It is found that good quality kerf without delamination can be achieved if through cut is attained. A scanning electron microscopy (SEM) analysis of the cut surfaces reveals that the erosive process for the matrix material (resin) involves shearing and ploughing as well as intergranular cracking. Shearing or cutting is found to be a dominant process for cutting the fibres in the upper cutting region but the fibers are mostly pulled out in the lower region. Mathematical models for the total depth of cut are finally developed and verified, together with empirical models for the other kerf geometrical features.
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Wang, Jun
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Journal Article
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UNSW Faculty
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