Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Automotive Engineering

Committee Member

Dr. Laine Mears, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Sez Atamturktur

Committee Member

Dr. Beshah Ayalew

Committee Member

Dr. Joachim Taiber


The objective of this research is first to investigate the applicability and advantage of statistical state estimation methods for predicting tool wear in machining nickel-based superalloys over deterministic methods, and second to study the effects of cutting tool wear on the quality of the part. Nickel-based superalloys are among those classes of materials that are known as hard-to-machine alloys. These materials exhibit a unique combination of maintaining their strength at high temperature and have high resistance to corrosion and creep. These unique characteristics make them an ideal candidate for harsh environments like combustion chambers of gas turbines. However, the same characteristics that make nickel-based alloys suitable for aggressive conditions introduce difficulties when machining them. High strength and low thermal conductivity accelerate the cutting tool wear and increase the possibility of the in-process tool breakage. A blunt tool nominally deteriorates the surface integrity and damages quality of the machined part by inducing high tensile residual stresses, generating micro-cracks, altering the microstructure or leaving a poor roughness profile behind. As a consequence in this case, the expensive superalloy would have to be scrapped. The current dominant solution for industry is to sacrifice the productivity rate by replacing the tool in the early stages of its life or to choose conservative cutting conditions in order to lower the wear rate and preserve workpiece quality. Thus, monitoring the state of the cutting tool and estimating its effects on part quality is a critical task for increasing productivity and profitability in machining superalloys. This work aims to first introduce a probabilistic-based framework for estimating tool wear in milling and turning of superalloys and second to study the detrimental effects of functional state of the cutting tool in terms of wear and wear rate on part quality. In the milling operation, the mechanisms of tool failure were first identified and, based on the rapid catastrophic failure of the tool, a Bayesian inference method (i.e., Markov Chain Monte Carlo, MCMC) was used for parameter calibration of tool wear using a power mechanistic model. The calibrated model was then used in the state space probabilistic framework of a Kalman filter to estimate the tool flank wear. Furthermore, an on-machine laser measuring system was utilized and fused into the Kalman filter to improve the estimation accuracy. In the turning operation the behavior of progressive wear was investigated as well. Due to the nonlinear nature of wear in turning, an extended Kalman filter was designed for tracking progressive wear, and the results of the probabilistic-based method were compared with a deterministic technique, where significant improvement (more than 60% increase in estimation accuracy) was achieved. To fulfill the second objective of this research in understanding the underlying effects of wear on part quality in cutting nickel-based superalloys, a comprehensive study on surface roughness, dimensional integrity and residual stress was conducted. The estimated results derived from a probabilistic filter were used for finding the proper correlations between wear, surface roughness and dimensional integrity, along with a finite element simulation for predicting the residual stress profile for sharp and worn cutting tool conditions. The output of this research provides the essential information on condition monitoring of the tool and its effects on product quality. The low-cost Hall effect sensor used in this work to capture spindle power in the context of the stochastic filter can effectively estimate tool wear in both milling and turning operations, while the estimated wear can be used to generate knowledge of the state of workpiece surface integrity. Therefore the true functionality and efficiency of the tool in superalloy machining can be evaluated without additional high-cost sensing.



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