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SBIR/STTR

Laser Assisted Machining of Metal Matrix Composites, Phase I

Completed Technology Project

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Laser Assisted Machining of Metal Matrix Composites, Phase I
Metal matrix composites (MMC's) are of great interest in aerospace applications where their high specific strength provides a weight saving alternative to standard materials. To date however their use has been limited by the difficulty in fabricating complex shapes. Most current methods for manufacturing MMC's are limited to relatively simple shapes that often still require further machining. It is the machining of MMC's that is the biggest drawback to their application. Grinding or single point diamond turning are generally the methods of choice but in each case tool wear is excessive and surface damage is apparent. A very attractive alternative for rapid machining of MMC's is Laser Assisted Machining (LAM). LAM has been successfully applied to ceramics and some recent work has indicated that LAM can successfully machine MMC's with high material removal rates and no surface damage. In this proposal, Nanohmics Inc. and Dr. Y. C. Shin of Purdue University propose to apply the recently developed technique of laser assisted machining coupled with a specially designed dynamic tooling system to develop a means of machining MMC's into complex shapes. More »

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