In this work, the damage interference during scratching of single crystal silicon carbide (SiC) by two cone-shaped diamond grits was experimentally investigated and numerically analyzed by coupling the finite element method (FEM) and smoothed particle hydrodynamics (SPH), to reveal the interference mechanisms during the micron-scale removal of SiC at variable Z-axis spacing along the depth of cutting (DOC) direction. The simulation results were well verified by the scratching experiments. The damage interference mechanism of SiC during double scratching at micron-scale was found to be closely related to the material removal modes, and can be basically divided into three stages at different DOCs: combined interference of plastic and brittle removal in the case of less than 5 µm, interference of cracks propagation when DOC was increased to 5 µm, and weakened interference stage during the fracture of SiC in the case of greater than 5 µm. Hence, DOC was found to play a determinant role in the damage interference of scratched SiC by influencing the material removal mode. When SiC was removed in a combined brittle-plastic mode, the damage interference occurred mainly along the DOC direction; when SiC was removed in a brittle manner, the interference was mainly along the width of cutting; and more importantly, once the fragment of SiC was initiated, the interference was weakened and the effect on the actual material removal depth also reduces. Results obtained in this work are believed to have essential implications for the optimization of SiC wafer planarization process that is becoming increasingly important for the fabrication of modern electronic devices.
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