Experimental evaluation of the minimum uncut chip thickness (MUCT) in AISI H13 steel, using the end milling operation

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The increasing market demand for smaller products requires the development of micromachining processes. This, in turn, enhances the importance of knowledge about the phenomenon of chip formation and its characteristics at the microlevel. Conventional machining generally assumes that the tool cutting edge is perfectly sharp, and that it usually does not affect the chip formation process. However, in micromachining, the magnitude of the edge radius (re) is often the same as that of the chip thickness, thus significantly affecting the process. Moreover, the study of chip formation at the microlevel is even more complex. In micromachining, as the chip thickness decreases, it reaches a minimum thickness at which a chip is still formed, called the minimum uncut chip thickness (MUCT). Therefore, the purpose of this work is to use an experimental method, based on milling, to reach the MUCT (hmin) by simulating a micromilling operation. AISI H13 steel was used in two conditions: hardened and as received, with around 60 and 25 HRc, respectively. The experiments were performed according to a novel method simulating end milling in orthogonal cut. It was found that hmin varied from 0.56re to 2.5re, and that this range depends not only on re but also on the material being machined and on the mechanical compliance of all the equipment used in the test. Based on the theory of contact mechanics, it was possible to explain that a chip is formed only after the cutting edge has attained the necessary stresses to cause failure of the material being tested, and this knowledge is fundamental to understand the occurrence of hmin. In addition, the method used here was successful in reaching hmin values typically obtained in milling conditions. Using the same method proposed herein, future studies of MUCT can be performed employing even conventional machine tools.

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Change history


h min :

minimum uncut chip thickness (mm)


specific cutting force (GPa)


workpiece roughness (μm)


feed speed (mm/min)

n :

rotation speed (RPM, rotation per minute)


specimen radius (mm)

r :

instant specimen radius (mm)

l :

linear length (mm)


rotation angle of the specimen (°)

h :

uncut chip thickness (mm)

w :

specimen rotation speed (rot/s)

β :

total angle of interaction (°)

h max :

maximum uncut chip thickness (mm)

t :

time (s)

tT :

time of interaction between specimen and cutting edge (s)

D :

specimen diameter (mm)

vc :

cutting speed (m/min)

f :

feed (mm/rev)

F x :

component projected in the normal direction (N)

F n :

normal force (N)

F y :

component projected in the tangential direction (N)

F c :

cutting force (N)

re :

edge radius (μm)


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This work was funded by FAPESP (São Paulo State Research Foundation (Grant No. 2013/00551-7), FAPEAM (Amazonas State Research Foundation) (PROPG-AM, Public Notification 010/2015), UNICAMP - University of Campinas, Brazil, to which A.E. Diniz is affiliated and where T.M. Silva was a doctoral student when the study reported herein was conducted, and USP - University of São Paulo, to which R.T. Coelho is affiliated.

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All the authors whose names appear in the submission made substantial contributions to the conception or experimental design of this study; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data; drafted the article or revised it critically for important intellectual content; approved the version to be published; and agree to be accountable for all the aspects of this work, to ensure that questions pertaining to the accuracy or integrity of any part of it are appropriately investigated and resolved. In other words, the three authors participated significantly in all the phases of this work.

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Correspondence to Tatiany Mafra da Silva.

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da Silva, T.M., Diniz, A.E. & Coelho, R.T. Experimental evaluation of the minimum uncut chip thickness (MUCT) in AISI H13 steel, using the end milling operation. Int J Adv Manuf Technol (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00170-021-06710-6

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  • AISI H13 steel
  • Mechanical macromachining
  • Minimum uncut chip thickness
  • Contact mechanics