Cryogenic Machining of Titanium Alloy

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


Materials which are both lighter and stronger have faced an increased demand over the past decades to fulfil the requirements across a range of industrial applications. More specifically, demands for titanium alloys have increased significantly due to its high strength to weight ratio which is particularly attractive for increasing fuel efficiency in aircrafts and cars and is also used in biomedical implants. Despite the increasing demand for titanium made products, machining titanium alloys remains a significant challenge. High material strength and hardness lead to excessive heat generation at the cutting zone which accumulates and results in high cutting temperatures due to the poor thermal conductivity. The high cutting temperatures together with inherent material properties of titanium are responsible for short tool life and poor surface finish. Despite the environmental and health drawbacks, a generous amount of cutting fluids is commonly used to control the cutting temperature in machining titanium alloys. However, conventional cutting fluids evaporate at high cutting temperatures which isolate the cutting zone by forming a vapour cushion resulting in further increases in cutting temperatures.This research investigates the effects of cryogenic cooling on machinability of Ti-6Al-4V alloy in CNC milling as compared to conventional dry and wet machining environments. Two literature reviews were conducted and a methodology has been developed and implemented consisting of three experimental stages of i) design and manufacture of a cryogenic cooling system, ii) comparative study of cryogenic cooling with dry and wet machining and iii) optimisation of cutting parameters for cryogenic machining.The major contribution of this research can be summarised as design, realisation and assessment of a novel cryogenic cooling system for CNC milling, termed cryogenic shower, which is retrofitable to an existing CNC machining centre. In addition, the research provides a thorough study on the effects of cryogenic cooling on machinability of Ti-6Al-4V alloy in comparison with dry and wet machining. The studies range from power consumption and tool wear through to surface topography and surface integrity. Furthermore, the optimum cutting parameters for cryogenic machining are identified.The research demonstrates that using the cryogenic shower has significantly improved machinability of Ti-6Al-4V through realisation of higher material removal rates, reduced tool wear and improved surface finish, surface topography and surface integrity.
Date of Award30 May 2014
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorStephen Newman (Supervisor) & Vimal Dhokia (Supervisor)


  • cryogenic machining
  • titanium
  • end milling
  • cnc milling
  • CNC machining

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