The main aim of this work was the machining by hard turning of surfaces with optical surface quality. A numerical target had been set as a surface roughness Ra = 10nm. It has been shown that achieving roughness of that magnitude by hard turning is possible. Individual work pieces exhibited the desired surface properties for short lengths at a time, but it proved to be very difficult to achieve these surfaces consistently and over longer cuts. The factors influencing the surface roughness were identified as tool defects and machine vibration in addition to the standard cutting parameters and choice of cutting tool. A model of surface generation in hard turning has been developed and good correlation between simulated and experimentally determined surface roughnesses was achieved. By introducing a material partition equation which determines the proportional contribution of material removal mechanisms in the undeformed chip a comprehensive method for assessing the contributing factors in material removal was developed. While it has been shown that surfaces in hard turning are almost exclusively generated by chip removal and plastic deformation the developed model is versatile enough to include elastic deformation of the work piece. With the help of the model of surface generation in hard turning it has been possible to attribute magnitudes of the influencing factors with respect to the cutting parameters such as feed rate and tool corner radius, and the main disturbances - tool defects and machine vibration. From this conclusions were drawn on the requirements for machine tools and cutting tools, which will need to be realised to make ultra-precision hard turning of surfaces of optical quality a feasible manufacturing process
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