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Machinability of natural-fibre-reinforced polymer composites: Conventional vs ultrasonically-assisted machining

Wang, D., Onawumi, P.Y., Ismail, S.O., Dhakal, H.N., Popov, I., Silberschmidt, V.V., Roy, A.
Composites 2019 v.119 pp. 188-195
composite polymers, cutting, drilling, energy, hemp, industrial applications, synthetic fibers
Natural-fibre-reinforced polymer (NFRP) composites are becoming a viable alternative to synthetic fibre based composites in many industrial applications. Machining is often necessary to facilitate assembly of parts in a final product. This study focuses on a comparative experimental analysis of the effects of conventional drilling (CD) and a hybrid ultrasonically-assisted drilling (UAD) of a hemp fibre-reinforced vinyl ester composite laminate. The results obtained indicate that UAD is more efficient when compared to CD for a range of drilling conditions. It yields lower cutting forces and energy resulting in reduced machining-induced damage in the composite, including diminished burr formation and fibre pull-outs. The holes drilled with UAD exhibit improved surface finish and hole quality when compared to those produced with CD. The study demonstrates the applicability of UAD as a viable machining process for improved machinability of heterogeneous NFRP composite materials.