An investigation on the mechanics of nanometric cutting for hard-brittle materials at elevated temperatures

  • Saeed Zare Chavoshi

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Due to their exceptional physical and chemical properties such as high strength, high thermal conductivity, high stability at high temperature, high resistance to shocks, low thermal expansion and low density, silicon and silicon carbide (SiC) have become consummate candidates for optoelectronics, semiconductor and tribological applications. In particular, 3C-SiC, as a zinc blende structured SiC, possesses the highest fracture toughness, hardness, electron mobility and electron saturation velocity amongst the SiC polytypes. Thus, it has drawn substantial attention as a candidate substrate material for nano-devices which require high performance in extreme environments.Nanometric cutting is a promising ultra precision manufacturing process for manufacturing of 3D silicon and SiC based components which require submicron form accuracy and nanometric smooth finish. However, silicon and 3C-SiC have poor machinability at room temperature due to their relatively low fracture toughness and high hardness. A common understanding is that the yield strength and hardness of silicon and 3C-SiC will reduce under high temperature. As such, their fracture toughness increase which will ease plastic deformation and improve their machinabilities primarily as a result of thermally-generated intrinsic defects and thermal softening processes. However, the extent has never been reported although this knowhow could be vital in implementing the hot machining of silicon and SiC with the assistance of laser processing.This dissertation aims to gain an in-depth understanding of nanoscale mechanisms involved in nanometric cutting of hard-brittle materials such as silicon and 3C-SiC at elevated temperatures through molecular dynamics (MD) simulation and experimental trials. To this end, three-dimensional MD models of nanometric cutting were developed and different types of interatomic potential functions i.e. Tersoff, modified Tersoff, ABOP and SW were adopted to describe the interactions between atoms. In order to obtain reliable results, the equilibrium lattice constants were calculated at different temperatures for the employed potential functions. To perform the MD simulations, LAMMPS software was employed on a HPC service which was coupled with OVITO to visualise and post-process the atomistic data. Material flow behaviour, cutting chip characteristics, cutting forces and specific cutting energy, yielding stresses, stress and temperature on the cutting edge of the diamond tool, tool wear, defect-mediated plasticity and amorphization processes were calculated and analysed to quantify the differences in the cutting behaviour at different temperatures. Furthermore, In-situ high temperature nanoscratching (~500°C) of silicon wafer under reduced oxygen condition through an overpressure of pure Argon was carried out using a Berkovich tip with a ramp load at low and high scratching speeds. Ex-situ Raman spectroscopy and AFM analysis were performed to characterize high pressure phase transformation, nanoscratch topography, nanoscratch hardness and condition of the nanoindenter tip in nanoscratching at room and elevated temperatures.MD simulation results showed that the workpiece atoms underneath the cutting tool experienced a rotational flow akin to fluids. Moreover, the degree of flow in terms of vorticity was found higher on the (111) crystal plane, signifying better machinability on this orientation. Furthermore, it was observed that the degree of turbulence in the machining zone increases linearly with machining operation temperature. The cutting temperature showed significant dependence on the location and position of the stagnation region in the cutting zone of the substrate. In general, when cutting was performed on the (111) plane, the stagnation region (irrespective of the cutting tem
Date of Award1 Dec 2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University Of Strathclyde
SponsorsUniversity of Strathclyde
SupervisorXichun Luo (Supervisor) & William Ion (Supervisor)

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