An increasing number of aerospace components are manufactured from titanium and nickel alloys that are difficult to machine due to their thermal and mechanical properties. This limits the metal removal rates that can be achieved from the production process. However, under these machining conditions the phenomenon of process damping can be exploited to help avoid self-excited vibrations known as regenerative chatter. This means that greater widths of cut can be taken so as to increase the metal removal rate, and hence offset the cutting speed restrictions that are imposed by the thermo-mechanical properties of the material. However, there is little or no consensus as to the underlying mechanisms that cause process damping. The present study investigates two process damping mechanisms that have previously been proposed in the machining literature: the tool flank/workpiece interference effect, and the short regenerative effect. A signal processing procedure is employed to identify flank/workpiece interference from experimental data. Meanwhile, the short regenerative model is solved using a new frequency domain approach that yields additional insight into its stabilising effect. However, analysis and signal processing of the experimentally obtained data reveals that neither of these models can fully explain the increases in stability that are observed in practice. Meanwhile, chip segmentation effects were observed in a number of measurements, and it is suggested that segmentation could play an important role in the process-damped chatter stability of these materials
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