Ceramic Cutting Tools: Technological Revolution in Machining
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The emergence of new ceramic cutting tools is the first time that people have used ceramic materials to reform the mechanical cutting and machining of a technological revolution.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Germany and Britain began to quest for ceramic tools to replace conventional carbon tools or steel tools. Due to its high hardness and high-temperature resistance, ceramic materials have become a new generation of tool materials. But ceramics are also limited by their well-known brittleness. Therefore, how to overcome the brittleness of ceramic tool material and improve its toughness has been the main research subject of ceramic tool study in the past 100 years. The application scope of ceramics is also expanding.
One of the main reasons for the efforts of engineering and technology industry to develop and promote ceramic cutting tools is that the production efficiency can be greatly improved; the second is determined by the exhaustion of tungsten resources, the main components of high-speed steel and cemented carbide.
In the early 1980s, it was estimated that the world’s proven tungsten resources could only be used for 50 years. Tungsten is the scarcest resource in the world, but it consumes a lot in cutting tool materials. Therefore, the price of tungsten ore has been increased many times in several decades, which has promoted the development of ceramic cutting tools to some extent.
So far, the materials used as ceramic tools have formed alumina ceramics, alumina-metal ceramic, alumina-carbide ceramic, alumina-carbide metal ceramic, alumina-nitride metal ceramics and the latest research on the success of boron nitride ceramic cutting tools.
As far as the world is concerned, German ceramic tools are not only used in ordinary machine tools but have been used as an efficient and reliable tool for NC machine tool processing and automatic production line; Japanese ceramic blade has international advanced level in product category, yield, and quality; the United States has been the world leader in the development of oxide-carbide-nitride ceramic tools; many important achievements have been made in the development and application of Chinese ceramic tools.