This study conducts large-scale molecular dynamics (MD) simulations of micro cutting of single crystal 6H silicon carbide (SiC) with up to 19 million atoms to investigate the mechanism of unstable material removal modes within the transitional range of undeformed chip thickness in which either brittle or ductile mode of cutting might occur. Under this transitional range, cracks are always formed in the cutting zone, but the stress states cannot guarantee their propagation. The cutting mode is brittle when the cracks can propagate and otherwise ductile mode cutting happens. Plunge cutting experiment is conducted to produce a taper groove on a 6H SiC wafer. There is a transitional zone between the brittle-cut and ductile-cut regions, which has a mostly smooth surface with a few brittle craters on it. This study contributes to the understanding of the detailed process of brittle-ductile cutting mode transition (BDCMT) as it shows that a transitional range can occur even for single crystals without internal defects and provides guidance for the determination of tcritical
from taper grooves made by various techniques, e.g., to adopt larger tcritical
around the end of the transitional range to increase machining efficiency for grinding or turning as long as the cracks do not extend below the machined surface.
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