Molecular dynamics simulation (MDS) to study nanoscale machining processes

Saurav Goel, Saeed Zare Chavoshi, Adrian Murphy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

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Molecular Dynamics Simulations (MDS) are constantly being used to make important contributions to our fundamental understanding of material behaviour, at the atomic scale, for a variety of thermodynamic processes. This chapter shows that molecular dynamics simulation is a robust numerical analysis tool in addressing a range of complex nanofinishing (machining) problems that are otherwise difficult or impossible to understand using other methods. For example the mechanism of nanometric cutting of silicon carbide is influenced by a number of variables such as machine tool performance, machining conditions, material properties, and cutting tool performance (material microstructure and physical geometry of the contact) and all these variables cannot be monitored online through experimental examination. However, these could suitably be studied using an advanced simulation based approach such as MDS. This chapter details how MD simulation can be used as a research and commercial tool to understand key issues of ultra precision manufacturing research problems and a specific case was addressed by studying diamond machining of silicon carbide. While this is appreciable, there are a lot of challenges and opportunities in this fertile area. For example, the world of MD simulations is dependent on present day computers and the accuracy and reliability of potential energy functions [109]. This presents a limitation: Real-world scale simulation models are yet to be developed. The simulated length and timescales are far shorter than the experimental ones which couples further with the fact that contact loading simulations are typically done in the speed range of a few hundreds of m/sec against the experimental speed of typically about 1 m/sec [17]. Consequently, MD simulations suffer from the spurious effects of high cutting speeds and the accuracy of the simulation results has yet to be fully explored. The development of user-friendly software could help facilitate molecular dynamics as an integral part of computer-aided design and manufacturing to tackle a range of machining problems from all perspectives, including materials science (phase of the material formed due to the sub-surface deformation layer), electronics and optics (properties of the finished machined surface due to the metallurgical transformation in comparison to the bulk material), and mechanical engineering (extent of residual stresses in the machined component) [110]. Overall, this chapter provided key information concerning diamond machining of SiC which is classed as hard, brittle material. From the analysis presented in the earlier sections, MD simulation has helped in understanding the effects of crystal anisotropy in nanometric cutting of 3C-SiC by revealing the atomic-level deformation mechanisms for different crystal orientations and cutting directions. In addition to this, the MD simulation revealed that the material removal mechanism on the (111) surface of 3C-SiC (akin to diamond) is dominated by cleavage. These understandings led to the development of a new approach named the “surface defect machining” method which has the potential to be more effective to implement than ductile mode micro laser assisted machining or conventional nanometric cutting.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNanofinishing Science and Technology: Basic and Advanced Finishing and Polishing Processes
EditorsVijay Kumar Jain
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages48
ISBN (Electronic)9781498745949
Publication statusPublished - 25 Feb 2017

Publication series

NameMicro and Nanomanufacturing Series
PublisherTaylor and Francis


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