A study of the cutting performance in abrasive waterjet contouring of alumina ceramics and associated jet dynamic characteristics

Liu, Hua (2004) A study of the cutting performance in abrasive waterjet contouring of alumina ceramics and associated jet dynamic characteristics. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


Abrasive waterjet (AWJ) cutting is one of the most recently developed nontraditional manufacturing technologies. It has been increasingly used in industry owing to its various distinct advantages over the other cutting technologies. However, many aspects of this technology require to be fully understood in order to increase its capability and cutting performance as well as to optimize the cutting process.

This thesis contains an extensive literature review on the investigations of the various aspects in AWJ machining. It shows that while considerable work has been carried out, very little reported research has been found on the AWJ contouring process although it is a common AWJ cutting application. Because of the very nature of the AWJ cutting process, the changing nozzle traverse direction involved in AWJ contouring results in kerf geometrical or shape errors. A thorough understanding of the AWJ contouring process is essential for the reduction or elimination of these shape errors. It also shows that a lack of understanding of the AWJ hydrodynamic characteristics has limited the development of cutting performance models that are required for process control and optimization.

Accordingly, a detailed experimental investigation is presented in this thesis to study the various cutting performance measures in AWJ contouring of an 87% alumina ceramic over a wide range of process parameters. For a comparison purpose, the study also considers AWJ straight-slit cutting. The effects of process parameters on the major cutting performance measures in AWJ contouring have been comprehensively discussed and plausible trends are amply analysed. It finds that the taper angles on the two kerf walls are in different magnitudes in AWJ contouring. The kerf taper on the outer kerf wall increases with the arc radius (or profile curvature), while that on the inner kerf wall decreases. Moreover, the depth of cut increases with an increase in arc radius and approaches the maximum in straight cutting for a given combination of parameters. The other process variables affect the AWJ contouring process in a way similar to that in straight cutting. The analysis has provided a guideline for the selection of process parameters in the AWJ contouring of alumina ceramics.

In order to predict the cutting performance in process planning and ultimately optimize the cutting process, mathematical models for the major cutting performance measures in both straight-slit cutting and contouring are developed using a dimensional analysis technique. The models are then verified by assessing both qualitatively and quantitatively the model predictions with respect to the corresponding experimental data. It shows that the models can adequately predict the cutting performance measures and form the essential basis for developing strategies for selecting the optimum process parameters in AWJ cutting.

To achieve an in-depth understanding of the jet dynamic characteristics such as the velocity and pressure distributions inside a jet, a Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulation is carried out using a Fluent6 flow solver and the simulation results are validated by an experimental investigation. The water and particle velocities in the jet are obtained under different input and boundary conditions to provide an insight into the jet characteristics and a good understanding of the kerf formation process in AWJ cutting. Various plausible trends and characteristics of the water and particle velocities are analysed and discussed, which provides the essential knowledge for optimizing the jet performance through optimizing the jetting and abrasive parameters.

Mathematical models for the water and particle velocity distributions in an AWJ are finally developed and verified by comparing the predicted jet characteristics with the corresponding CFD simulation data. It shows that the jet characteristics models can yield good predictions for both water and particle velocity distributions in an AWJ. The successful development of these jet dynamic characteristics models is an essential step towards developing more comprehensive mathematical cutting performance models for AWJ cutting and eventually developing the optimization strategies for the effective and efficient use of this advanced manufacturing technology.

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ID Code: 16110
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Wang, Jun, Brown, Richard, & Kelson, Neil
Keywords: Abrasive waterjet contouring, dimensional analysis, cutting performance model, dynamic characteristics of abrasive waterjet, computational fluid dynamics, jet characteristics model
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Department: Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 03 Dec 2008 03:56
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2011 19:43

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