Numerical and experimental studies on thin-wall machining of aerospace grade aluminum alloy

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Due to homogeneity and excellent strength-to-weight ratio, monolithic thin-wall components are widely used in aerospace, marine, electronics and automobile industry. Machining of thin-wall parts eliminates the need for different set-ups and processes; however, it consumes a lot of power because of machining of about 90-95% bulk material. Today’s manufacturing and tool room industry are striving to reduce the component cost and to improve the product quality in terms of surface finish and dimensional accuracy. To fulfill these requirements it is imperative to focus our research attention on improving the product quality and overall productivity during machining of thin-wall components. The thin-wall parts are always machined on computer numerically controlled (CNC) machines. In spite of using CNC technology, the process of thin-wall machining is not devoid of problems. This is because the process control by CNC is based on idealized geometry and does not take into account the deformation of the parts. As a result, there is a significant deviation between the desired part profile and the manufactured one. Another important aspect related to machining of aluminum thin-wall components is the surface roughness. Aluminum alloys possess a comparatively low modulus of elasticity, which causes the workpiece to spring back. This spring back action often results in deflection and chatter. Chatter affects the material removal (MRR) rate and leads to poor surface finish, part rejection and loss of productivity. Due to the poor stiffness, selecting the optimal machining conditions and parameters is crucial.
Supervisor: Shrikrishna N. Joshi