Dual-processing by abrasive waterjet machining—A method for machining and surface modification of nickel-based superalloy

Zhirong Liao, Irati Sanchez, Dongdong Xu, Dragos Axinte, Giedrius Augustinavicius, Anders Wretland

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


Abrasive waterjet (AWJ) is widely used for machining of advanced (e.g. nickel-based) superalloys as it offers high material removal rates and low cutting temperatures. However, the inadequate surface integrity, e.g. large number of scratches and embedded particles in the machined surface, which would induce severe deteriorations of the materials functional performance, has been one of the greatest issues of the AWJ machining technique. To solve this problem, this research proposed a dual-process abrasive waterjet machining method, whereby two different functions of abrasive waterjet were employed: materials removal (first process) and surface modification (secondary process), hence, to improve the workpiece surface integrity. Two types of entrained particles, i.e. with sharp cutting edges (e.g. garnet) and smooth surfaces (e.g. stainless steel ball), that depending on their kinetic energy density can either cut or modify the workpiece surface respectively, are employed for these the two constitutive processes of the proposed dual-waterjet machining method. A critical standoff distance and inclination angle of the waterjet nozzle has been defined for the surface modification process thus, to eliminate the embedded particles and scratches left by the first cutting process while also introducing a surface strengthening effect. To support this approach, a mathematical model has been proposed for determining the surface modification parameters (e.g. jet feed speed and abrasive flow rate). In-depth analysis of the microstructural and metallurgical alternations of the machined workpiece surface and superficial layer have also been conducted to reveal the mechanisms responsible for the surface damage elimination and surface strengthening. Moreover, a four point bending fatigue test has been conducted to validate the mechanical performance, whereby a significant improvement of the fatigue life on the machined workpiece was achieved when compared with the case that single AWJ cutting method (91 %) and conventional machining (34 %) are employed. This proves that the proposed dual-processing AWJ machining method is of high efficiency to improve the functional performance of components on a single machine tool platform.

Original languageEnglish
Article number116768
JournalJournal of Materials Processing Technology
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020


  • Abrasive waterjet machining
  • Fatigue
  • Nickel based superalloy
  • Surface integrity
  • Surface modification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Metals and Alloys
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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