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Feasibility study of oil-on-water cooling in high-speed end milling of hardened steel


The machining efficiency of hardened steel molds can be significantly improved through high-speed deep milling. However, under these circumstances, the temperature and milling force increase greatly, and the end mills are subjected to rapid wear. A feasibility study of the oil-on-water (OoW) method in the high-speed end milling of P20 hardened steel was conducted. The experimental results show that the tool life of OoW is significantly longer compared with that of dry cutting and compressed air cooling. Moreover, the OoW method promotes tool life under low- and high-speed milling conditions. Thermal wear phenomena (e.g., adhesion) are evidently suppressed, and the development of the milling force and tool wear is considerably slowed down in OoW processing. The main reason for the excellent cooling and lubrication performance of the OoW method is that a two-layer film (oil film + water film) is formed when the OoW droplets collide with the cutting interface. The evaporation of the water film removes much heat and prevents the high-temperature failure of the oil film. Moreover, the single use of oil mist and water mist leads only to a single-layer film, resulting in an evidently shorter tool life than that of the OoW method. In the OoW cutting process, the chipping belt of the flank face is discontinuous, and the wear of the adhesion/attrition is less severe compared with those of the other processing modes. In addition, the tool wear and chipping belt occur with a certain amount of material peeling, and the thermal fatigue and mechanical behavior of the tool substrate in a certain temperature range are the main reasons for the discontinuity of the chipping belt in the OoW process.

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a p :

Axial depth of cut

a e :

Radial depth of cut

α :

Spraying angle

V c :

Cutting speed

f z :

Feed per tooth

R a :

Surface roughness

F x :

Force in the x-direction

F y :

Force in the y-direction

T o :

Object surface temperature

T j :

Coolant jet temperature

k :

Heat transfer coefficient

S :

Spalling width of materials

D f :

Depth of chipping on flank face

D r :

Depth of chipping on rake face


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The work reported herein was supported by the “National Science and Technology Major Project (2018YFB2002200),” “Science and Technology Program of Guangdong Province (2017A010102011),” “Natural Science Foundation Project of Guangdong Province (2018A0303130107),” and “Education Committee Project of Guangdong Province (2015KTSCX028).”

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Correspondence to Shixiong Wu.

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Wu, S., Bi, J., Li, Z. et al. Feasibility study of oil-on-water cooling in high-speed end milling of hardened steel. Int J Adv Manuf Technol (2020).

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  • Hardened steel
  • High-speed milling
  • Oil-on-water
  • Tool wear