Fibre reinforced plastic composite materials are difficult to machine because of the anisotropy and inhomogeneity characterizing their microstructure and the abrasiveness of their reinforcement components. During machining, very rapid cutting tool wear development is experienced, and surface integrity damage is often produced in the machined parts. An accurate selection of the proper tool and machining conditions is therefore required, taking into account that the phenomena responsible for material removal in cutting of fibre reinforced plastic composite materials are fundamentally different from those of conventional metals and their alloys. To date, composite materials are increasingly used in several manufacturing sectors, such as the aerospace and automotive industry, and several research efforts have been spent to improve their machining processes. In the present review, the key issues that are concerning the machining of fibre reinforced plastic composite materials are discussed with reference to the main recent research works in the field, while considering both conventional and unconventional machining processes and reporting the more recent research achievements. For the different machining processes, the main results characterizing the recent research works and the trends for process developments are presented.
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