Influence of grit geometry and fibre orientation on the abrasive material removal mechanisms of SiC/SiC Ceramic Matrix Composites (CMCs)

Gonzalo Garcia Luna, Dragos Axinte, Donka Novovic

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)


SiC/SiC Ceramic Matrix Composites (CMCs) have been identified as a key material system for improving aeroengine performance as they offer low density, high strength and stiffness, and superior environmental resistance at high temperatures. Nevertheless, due to their heterogeneous, hard and brittle nature, these materials are considered among the most difficult-to-machine, and grinding arises as one of the preferred choices for their processing. Therefore, understanding of the material removal mechanism and influence of the abrasive grit geometry when grinding CMCs is a critical enabler for achieving high component quality at highest efficiency and minimum cost. With the aim to reduce the uncertainties associated with the stochastic nature of the abrasive particles, grits of different shapes and sizes have been accurately created by Pulse Laser Ablation (PLA). In order to reproduce the grinding process kinematics, scratch tests in a circular trajectory have been carried out with single abrasive grain with different geometries and sizes, and arrays of overlapped grains to determine the influence of shape, size and spacing on the surface integrity of SiC/SiC CMCs after grinding. The morphology of the various constituents of the workpiece has been assessed regarding the direction of the scratch with respect to the orientation of the fibres. Results reflect a higher influence on the process forces by the grain shape rather than fibre orientation. Moreover, after the inspection of the abraded individual CMC constituents, a change in the mechanisms governing the process for the different abrasive grain geometries have been identified, despite the brittle material removal mode displayed by all of them. Explanation of the ground surface morphology in an analytical and comprehensive manner through a contact mechanics approach shows that the crack onset location is governed by the grains shape but its direction of propagation depends on the fibre orientation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103580
JournalInternational Journal of Machine Tools and Manufacture
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Ceramic matrix composites (CMCs)
  • Contact stress field of orthotropic material
  • Controlled grit geometry
  • Crack onset and propagation
  • SiC/SiC
  • Single- and multiple-grit scratch test

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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