The aim of this project is the substantial improvement of cutting tools for the machining of nickel and titanium alloys. These alloys present several problems during machining operations, and as a result today there are important restrictions regarding tool performance that limit the economy and quality of the final parts. The most important fact is the trend to work harden, due to the localized overheating, and stick or adhere to the cutting tool surface. Therefore, tools with sharp edges, with a very good surface finish and low chemical affinity are required. The application of selected PVD nano-structured coatings with a thickness of less than 1 micron can improve the cutting tools without worsening at all the sharpness, making it possible that the Ni & Ti machining benefit from a technology that has already been successfully applied to machining other materials, i.e. steel alloys, but has showed little if any improvement in Ni & Ti. A PVD nano-structured coatings can decrease friction (lower overheating risk) allowing higher machining speeds or even avoiding the use of lubricant. Furthermore, a hard nano-structured coating with a nano-thickness can be applied to the tool maintaining its surface finishing and sharpness, thus delaying the presence of local wear defects; this will reduce material sticking and increase tool life. The objectives of the project will thus focus on i)longer cutting tool life ii)faster machining and iii)a reduction/elimination in the use of lubricants and coolants. This will translate into more economic Ni and Ti made parts, which are directly related to social targets widely assumed as not only important but mandatory by the European society: A)Sustainable development: more efficient use of energy resources as efficiency in power generation involves processes at higher temperatures, B)Environmentally friendly and affordable transport, C)Quality of life: dependable and affordable biomedical devices.
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