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Journal of Composite Materials

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Abdalla Alrashdan, Ahmad T. Mayyas, Adel Mahamood Hassan and Mohammed T. Hayajneh Journal of Composite Materials 2011 45: 2091 originally published online 10 May 2011 DOI: 10.1177/0021998311401060 The online version of this article can be found at: http://jcm.sagepub.com/content/45/20/2091

Drilling of AlMgCu alloys and AlMgCu/SiC composites

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Article

JOURNAL OF COMPOSITE M AT E R I A L S
Journal of Composite Materials 45(20) 20912101 ! The Author(s) 2011 Reprints and permissions: sagepub.co.uk/journalsPermissions.nav DOI: 10.1177/0021998311401060 jcm.sagepub.com

Drilling of AlMgCu alloys and AlMgCu/SiC composites


Abdalla Alrashdan1, Ahmad T. Mayyas2, Adel Mahamood Hassan1 and Mohammed T. Hayajneh1

Abstract Metal matrix composites are widely used in engineering applications including automotive, aircraft, and military industries. In this study, different Al4 wt%MgCu alloys, and Al4 wt%MgCu/SiC composites were drilled on a vertical drilling machine using moderate speed and general purpose high-speed steel tools. The machinability parameters studied in this research were drilling forces (torque and thrust force) and surface roughness of the drilled holes. The results showed that the effect of the addition of copper as alloying element (up to 5 wt%) to Al4 wt%Mg tends to decrease torque and thrust force. Also, it was found that the addition of SiCP (up to 10 vol.%) to the Al4 wt%MgCu alloys had little effect on the drilling torque and thrust force, but tends to improve the surface roughness of the drilled surfaces. Moreover, the analysis of the produced chips indicates that most of the produced chips by dry drilling of aluminum-based materials were of continuous type.

Keywords Al, casting, composite, drilling

Introduction
Aluminum matrix composites (AMCs) refer to the class of light-weight high-performance aluminum material systems. AMCs are usually reinforced by Al2O3, SiC, and graphite. The reinforcement could be in the form of whiskers, particulates, or continuous/discontinuous bers in fractions ranging from a few percent up to 60%.1 Aluminum alloys and composites are widely used due to their good mechanical properties and low density. They are also generally regarded as materials with low cutting forces, and hence ease of machining.2 The term machinability is used to describe how easily a material is machined.2 Others describe it as the characteristics under which a cutting tool operates.35 The machinability can be aected by many variables such as workpiece material, cutting tool material, and the machining parameters like cutting speed, feed rate, and depth of cut.2,6 However, because of the poor machining properties of MMCs, drilling MMCs is a challenging task for manufacturing engineers. Unlike machining of conventional materials, many problems are presented during drilling of MMCs such as tool wear, high drilling forces, and burr formation.6 Burr formation in dry drilling of some aluminum alloys

(e.g., AlSi alloys) seems to be less problematic; the ductility of AlSi alloys is the fundamental parameter to understand the burr formation. The ductility behavior of this aluminum alloy usually results in smaller burrs than those shown in drilling the stainless steel and even other aluminum alloys.7 Dry machining is now being considered more and more for two major reasons: (1) the potential reduction in cost by minimizing or eliminating the use of cutting uids, which are expensive to use and maintain, and (2) the health and environmental benets of minimizing metalworking uid use or green machining.3,4 Dry machining provides for signicant cost savings,
1 Industrial Engineering Department, Faculty of Engineering, Jordan University of Science and Technology, P.O. Box 3030, Irbid 22110, Jordan. 2 Clemson UniversityInternational Center for Automotive Research CUICAR, 340 Carroll Campbell Jr. Graduate Engineering Center CGEC, Greenville, SC 29607, USA.

Corresponding author: Ahmad T. Mayyas, Clemson UniversityInternational Center for Automotive Research CUICAR, 340 Carroll Campbell Jr. Graduate Engineering Center CGEC, Greenville, SC 29607, USA Email: ahmadm@clemson.edu

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2092 including the costs of metalworking uids and biocides added to minimize microbial growth and also, a significant reduction in maintenance costs.6,8 Aluminum is commonly used in machines with high-speed steel (HSS), diamond, and carbide tooling; silicon nitridebased ceramic tools are generally not made of aluminum because of the high solubility of silicon in aluminum.8 Cutting forces as well as cutting temperatures are generally low; and because aluminum is a good conductor of heat, major part of produced heat during dry machining is dissipated outside the drilled hole.6,8 Tool wear rates are also low because of the relatively low cutting forces and low temperature. When cut under proper conditions with sharp tools, aluminum alloys acquire ne nishes through turning, drilling, and milling, hence minimizing the necessity for grinding and polishing operations. The major machinability concerns in aluminum drilling process include tool life, chip characteristics, chip disposal, and surface nish.912 Most of the current literature works discuss machining of AMCs in terms of the eect of reinforcement particles and the role of machining parameters in the nal quality of products and durability of cutting tools. Durante et al.13 studied machining and turning of cast MMC parts using diamond-coated tools and they noted a signicant increase in tool life in this study. Abrasive and adhesive wear in turning process had been noted by Caroline et al.,14 in which a polycrystalline diamond and chemical vapor deposition diamond inserts were used in machining aluminum-based composites reinforced with SiC. On the other hand, Coelho et al.15,16 did investigate machining operations (turning, milling, drilling, and reaming) for AA2618 aluminum alloys reinforced with 15% SiC particulate. They found in turning and milling experiments that cutting speed did not show a signicant eect on ank wear rate, while in the drilling and reaming experiment, feed rate proved to be the key parameter. Lower feed rate tends to increase ank wear due to greater time while being in-contact and hence there is more rubbing action against abrasive SiC particulate reinforcement. In addition to tool wear, it was found that both thrust force and torque are directly proportional to feed rate. Therefore, tool life and induced forces signicantly depend on the feed rate. Today, some researchers use modeling techniques to simulate and predict machining parameters including metal matrix composites. Such methods include regression analysis, articial neural networks, and genetic algorithms. Davim et al.17 had used genetic algorithm approach to develop optimal drilling conditions. In this study, they noticed a predominantly abrasive wear mechanism attributed to the hard ceramic particles in the matrix. Also, surface nish was greatly aected by the feed rate, but not the cutting speed.

Journal of Composite Materials 45(20) This study aims to develop a complete study of the dry drilling process of AlMgCu alloys and their corresponding AlMgCu/SiC composites using commercially available drills such as HSS by analyzing torque, thrust force during steady-state drilling process, and surface roughness of the drilled specimens.

Materials and methods Materials


The testing materials used in this study were a mixture of aluminum (commercial grade Al, 99% purity) and copper granules with an average particle size of 0.425 mm and 97% purity as a matrix and silicon carbide as reinforcement particles. About 1000 g of commercial grade Al ingots and dierent weight percentages of copper powder (0, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 wt%) were used to prepare the base metal matrix by casting method. Specic quantities of silicon carbide powder with an average particle size of 75 mm, with purity exceeding 99.5%, of 5 vol.% and 10 vol.%, were added to the matrix alloy. Finally, magnesium (99% purity ingots) was added in small quantities (xed weight percentage 4 wt%) in the nal stage to promote wettability between metal matrix and reinforcement particles.1,12 The chemical compositions of the dierent alloys used in this study are given in Table 1.

Processing
The synthesis of the particulate metal matrix composites used in this study was carried out by the stir-casting method. Aluminum ingots and copper granules melted together at 850 C. The SiC powder was pre-oxidized at 900 C for about 30 min to form a layer of SiO2 on the surface in order to improve its wettability with molten aluminum.12,18 After this pre-processing, the SiC particles were incorporated into the melt. Mg was added to the melt in the nal stage prior to pouring task to enhance the wettability between metal matrix and

Table 1. Chemical composition (wt%) of AlMgCu alloys Cu Mg Fe Cr Mn Ti Zn Al 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 3.84.2 Maximum 0.5 Maximum 0.25 Maximum 0.25 Maximum 0.25 Maximum 0.25 Balance

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Figure 1. Optical micrographs of some alloys and composites used in this study: (a) Al4 wt%Mg; (b) Al4 wt%Mg4 wt%Cu; (c) Al4 wt%Mg10 vol.%SiC; and (d) Al4 wt%Mg2 wt%Cu10 vol%SiC (200).

reinforcement particles. The pouring temperature was maintained at 580600 C in semisolid state. Then, the mold was left in air to cool down to room temperature. Finally, the obtained cast bars turned to small specimens of 25 mm diameter and 40 mm length to be used in the drilling experiments. Figure 1 shows the micrographs of some alloys and composites used in this study. The hardness of as-cast composites and unreinforced alloys was measured using Rockwell hardness test using scale E (Y-in. hardened steel ball with minor load of 10 kgf and major load of 90 kgf). The samples were rst surface nished and at least ve measurements were performed randomly in each sample and averaged to obtain the accurate hardness of the specimen. Figure 2 shows the hardness values for dierent Al 4 wt%MgCu alloys and Al4 wt%MgSiC composites. Each two consecutive bars in the gures represent two dierent samples with same composition.

Drilling test
There are many available types of drills but the simplest and most often used is the twist drill.19 The drilling test was carried out on a vertical machining center (Q&S Drillmaster, England). General purpose 8.5-mm diameter HSS twist drills (U.fA Germany) were utilized in the drilling process. The geometry of the used drills is shown in Figure 3. Such types of HSS twist drills are used where cost and productivity are of much concern as they are cheap and available in all machine shops. Also, they perform well in drilling soft materials like aluminum. The test was carried out under predetermined machining parameters (cutting speed 300 rpm and feed rate 0.229 mm/rev without using any lubricants). Each hole was drilled up to about 2 cm. In order to insure repeatability of the test, two specimens of each alloy/composite were drilled; so, the total number was 36 specimens.

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(a) 80
70 60 Hardness value (HRE) 50 40 30 20 10 0 0 1 2 Cu (wt.%) 3 4 5

Journal of Composite Materials 45(20) positions spaced at 120 intervals around the hole circumference and approximately mid-way down the depth of the hole and the averaged values were used to express Ra. Quanta 200 digital scanning electron microscopy (SEM) was used to analyze the quality of drilled holes of some investigated specimens.

Results and discussion


The purpose of this experiment was to determine the eect of adding alloying element, copper, and reinforcement particles, silicon carbide, to the drilling process of aluminum-based materials. According to Kelly and Kotterell,8 the most important factors which determine the condition of the work material that can inuence the outcome of the machinability are: alloy chemistry, additions; morphology, size, and volume fraction of the constituent phases; microstructure (grain rening and modication); porosity; heat treatment temper; and physical and mechanical properties. More details about the eect of porosity on metal cutting can be found in Astakhov.21

(b)

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50 40 30 20 10 0
0 5 SiC (vol.%) 10

Torque and thrust force analysis


The measured thrust force and torque are shown in Figure 5. The horizontal axis represents the time of tool travel from the initial contact between tool and workpiece. If we consider torque (Figure 5(a)), the trend somewhat rises and falls at a slow rate, which may be assumed as steady trend.22 The shape of the thrust force vs. time relation is shown in Figure 5(b), in which the thrust force increases at a slower rate to a peak value, about 35 mm tool travel from the start of contact. From the peak, the thrust force becomes a steady-state one until the tool penetrates the specimens. Mean steady-state values of the torque and thrust force developed during drilling operations have been the subject of considerable investigation. There are three distinct cutting edges in a typical drill: (1) the main cutting edge; (2) the chisel edge; and (3) the margin cutting edge. The measured torque in Figure 4(a) can be used to obtain the horizontal force by dividing the resultant torque by the average distance from the drill distance.23,24 Similarly, the measured thrust force, Fth, represents the total force acting on the drill (Figure 5(b)). Further, thrust force acting on one lip is the sum of the three components: (1) the cutting component, (typically the one with the largest magnitude), (2) the force attributed to ploughing at the main cutting edge, and (3) the force resulting from rubbing action at the margin.23,24 Hence, in this study, the steady-state portions of forces developed in drilling process were chosen for analysis and modeling of different machinabilty parameters.

Figure 2. Hardness values of some investigated specimens: (a) Al4 wt%MgCu alloys; and (b) Al4 wt%MgSiC composites. Note: Each column represent the average value of two different samples with: (a) same Cu wt%; and (b) same SiC vol.%.

The test specimens were mounted in a two-jaw chuck which was xed onto a two-component drill dynamometer (BKM 2000 TeLC drilling dynamometer) used to measure the thrust force and cutting torque during the drilling process. XKM 2000 software used for the data acquisition of TeLC cutting tool dynamometers with serial data interface to PC computer. After completion of the setup, a calibration was performed to the dynamometer by measuring thrust force and cutting torque of SAE 1020 steel which has a hardness of 175179 HB. The measured thrust force and cutting torque were then compared to the results of the proposed empirical equations by Karabay.20 The average accuracies of the used dynamometer in measuring the thrust force and cutting torque were about 94% and 92%, respectively. The arrangement of the experiment is shown in Figure 4. The drilling cycles were incorporated into a manual control program, which took account of changes in speed and feed rates. Figure 5 shows a sample graph of machinability charts obtained from the drilling test. The surface nish of each drilled hole was measured using TaylorHobson (Surtronic 3P) type instrument. Surface roughness readings were taken at least at three

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Figure 3. HSS twist drill geometry.

Figure 4. Equipment set-up and data acquisition system on the vertical machining center.

Effect of copper and silicon carbide addition on the drilling of aluminum


Hardness is one of the important metallurgical parameters that can control the alloy machinability. In fact, aluminum alloys dier from many other metals in that the machinability of aluminum generally improves as the hardness increases. Most automotive machine shops agree that a minimum hardness of 80 Brinell is desirable10,11 The hardness values of the major investigated Al4 wt%MgCu alloys and Al4 wt%MgSiC composites are shown in Figure 2. The addition of copper and magnesium tends to increase alloy hardness, improve the machined surface nish, and decrease the tendency of the alloy to build up on a cutting tool edge.10,11 Figure 6 shows the eect of copper content

(Cu wt%) on the resulted torque, thrust force, and surface roughness, respectively. It is obvious that both torque and thrust force decrease when the amount of copper increases in the Al4 wt.%Mg matrix alloy. Similar observation was seen in the case of surface roughness of the drilled holes. Table 2 gives the complete measured drilling data in this experiment. For example, thrust force decreased from about 1244 N for Al4 wt%Mg alloy to about 1102 N for Al 4 wt%Mg5 wt%Cu alloy. However, the lowest torque value for Al4 wt%MgCu alloys was measured in the case of Al4 wt%Mg5 wt%Cu alloy with value of 1060 N. This small variation does not discard the general trend, which says that torque decreases with increasing of copper content in Al4 wt%Mg 5 wt%Cu alloys. Moreover, it can be seen from

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Figure 5. Sample graph of machinability charts obtained from drilling test: (a) torque and (b) thrust force.
(a)
700 600

(b)

1400 1300

500 400 300 200 100 0 0 1 2 3 Cu (wt.%) 4 5

Thrust force (N)

1200 1100 1000 900 800 0 1 2 3 Cu (wt.%) 4 5

Torque (N.cm)

(c)

16 14 12

Surface roughness (m)

10 8 6 4 2 0 0 1 2 Cu (wt.%) 3 4 5

Figure 6. Experimental values of: (a) torque, (b) thrust force, and (c) surface roughness with different Cu (wt%). Note: Each bar represents average value of two independent samples with same Cu wt%.

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Table 2. Drilling test results Cu (wt.%) 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 3 3 4 4 4 4 4 4 5 5 5 5 5 5 SiC (vol.%) 0 0 5 5 10 10 0 0 5 5 10 10 0 0 5 5 10 10 0 0 5 5 10 10 0 0 5 5 10 10 0 0 5 5 10 10 Hardness (HRE) 57 58 65 66 73 73 60 61 70 71 76 76 63 63 75 75 79 78 67 67 78 77 81 82 70 72 79 80 82 81 75 77 84 83 86 86 Torque (N.cm) 555 530 556 478 464 490 422 430 455 427 397 398 312 352 300 330 560 521 555 585 430 418 422 440 480 445 385 398 402 400 362 370 339 240 310 345 Thrust force (N) 1135 1355 1170 1082 690 591 1160 1180 1110 1032 1120 1035 1240 1086 1125 1060 1220 1160 1230 810 1040 1025 1185 1230 1179 1032 1096 1042 1098 1060 965 1120 1000 920 1098 1110

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Surface roughness; Ra (mm) 12.9 12.66 11.28 12.89 8.13 6.82 12.19 11.48 9.59 10.88 7.62 6.11 9.03 9.66 6.12 6.59 13.7 12.08 9.39 8.66 12.77 13.41 10.03 10.14 6.89 5.4 12.88 14.02 7.1 6.77 8.51 6.32 8.43 8.43 6.66 6.06

Figure 5(b) that torque value decreased from 542.5 N.cm for Al4 wt%Mg to 316 N.cm for Al 4 wt%Mg5 wt%Cu alloy. Similarly, surface roughness decreased from 12.78 to 7.42 mm in the case of Al4 wt%Mg5 wt%Cu alloy. So, it can be generalized that in the drilling process, a lower copper content resulted in higher cutting forces for both torque and thrust force.25 On the other hand, magnesium hardens the alloy matrix and, and by doing so, reduces the friction coecient between tool and workpiece which, in turn, results in shorter and tighter chips, thus providing

a better surface nish.24,25 A small addition of Mg improves the alloy machinability, decreasing the thrust force and torque.10,11 Figure 7 shows the measured values of torque, thrust force, and surface roughness for dierent AlSiC composites. It can be observed that the general trend of machinability indicates that as the amount of SiC increases in the metal matrix, the machinability will be improved (in terms of cutting forces and surface roughness). This may be attributed to the smearing of the softer Al4 wt%Mg metal matrix into cutting tool

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(b)
1600 1400 1200 1000 800 600 400

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Figure 7. Experimental values of: (a) torque, (b) thrust force, and (c) surface roughness with different SiC (vol.%). Note: Each bar represents two independent samples with same SiC vol.%.

compared to the harder matrix containing SiCP (discussed in the next section). This is valid for lower volume fractions of reinforcement particles; however, higher volume percentages of silicon carbide will also result in higher cutting forces compared to metal matrix alone due to the hardness of these particles. Actually, this is beyond the scope of this study, since it did not deal with high volume fractions of reinforcement particles (>10 vol.%). In the case of Al4 wt%Mg alloy, the measured thrust force decreased from about 1244 N for Al4 wt%Mg alloy to about 640.5 N for Al 4 wt%Mg10 vol.%SiC. Also, torque decreased from 542.5 N.cm for Al4 wt%Mg to 477 N.cm for Al 4 wt%Mg10 vol.%SiC. Other important aspects in the dry drilling of AMCs are the wearing out of the tool and the surface nish of drilled parts. It is well known that the hardness of SiC particles is much greater than that of HSS drill. When the cutting edges of HSS drills wear out and become rounded, the cutting force cannot be transmitted as a shear force but acts as a friction force. The material is no longer cut by the drill but pushed or extruded.

Without the wearing action of the SiC, the material removed by the rotating drill edges may be dominated by the shear failure of the aluminum matrix. Since the aluminum material matrix is much softer than HSS, the main resistance is caused by the mechanical removal of SiC particles. The presence of deep grooving is due to the removal and pulling of SiCP outside the aluminum matrix.6 As shown in Figure 7(c), surface roughness decreased from 12.78 mm in the case of Al4 wt%Mg alloy to 7.48 mm in the case of Al4 wt%Mg 10 vol.%SiC. Tosun and Muratoglu3,4 studied the drilling process of Al17 vol.%SiC using dierent cutting tools and drilling parameters. They found that as the speed and/or feed rate increased, the thickness of the matrix layer increased. The combined eect of increasing copper and silicon carbide amounts showed improvement in the drilling process of AlCu/SiC composites (decreasing values of torque and thrust force) compared to Al4 wt%Mg alloy, and this mainly is due to the presence of Cu (up to 5%) and Mg (4%) in significant quantities in these composites.

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Figure 8. SEM images of some drilled surfaces for different alloys and composites: (a) Al4 wt%Mg alloy; (b) Al4 wt%Mg5 vol.%SiC; (c) Al4 wt%Mg4 wt%Cu; and (d) Al4 wt%Mg5 wt%Mg10 vol.%SiC.

Surface roughness
Surface roughness of the drilled holes are shown in Figures 6(c) and 7(c), which represent measured arithmetic surface roughness, Ra. Surface nishes of the drilled AlMgCu alloys and AlMgCu/SiC composites vary due to the dierences in hardness and presence of hard ceramic particles. Although the addition of Cu increases the hardness of the Al4 wt%Mg alloy, it does not show signicant eect in the surface nish of drilled holes (Figure 6(c)). Also, it was observed that the presence of higher volume fractions of SiC decreases the surface roughness and enhances surface nish. This is attributed to the burnishing or honing eect of SiCP, which is trapped between ank tool and the workpiece surface.25-27 Figure 8 shows SEM micrographs of some investigated Al4 wt%MgCu alloys and Al 4 wt%MgCu/SiC composites. Better surface nish could be observed in the case of the composites containing SiCP.

A weakening of the binding between the aluminum matrix and the SiCP will result when temperature increases during dry drilling. This in turn softens the matrix, and the motion of SiC occurs easily. However, chips tend to be easily segmented with ductile tearing.

Chip formation
During the drilling process, chips were collected and examined for studying their general characteristics. It is rather dicult to explain the cutting action during drilling process on a theoretical basis, as there is an oblique cutting action combined with an extrusion process which produces many distinct types of chips. In the case of Al4 wt%Mg alloy, continuous chips were produced (Figure 9(a)). Aluminum is known to have a high anity for the tool.11 Moreover, a layer of build-up aluminum alloy may be transferred to the tool surface,

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Figure 9. Photographs of the produced chips: (a) Al4 wt%Mg alloy; (b) Al4 wt%Mg5 vol.%SiC; (c) Al4 wt%Mg4 wt%Cu; and (d) Al4 wt%Mg5 wt%Cu10 vol.%SiC.

which is undesirable in all machining process.2,27 It was found that in this study that the chips became less ductile in the case of Al4 wt%MgCu alloys and most of them were broken into single conical helical chips (Figure 9(a)); still some chips were in continuous form (Figure 9(b)). On the other hand, because of the brittleness eect of SiCP into Al4 wt%MgCu matrix, the produced chips were broken into many uniform single conical helical chips and some ne dark powder was observed in the surfaces of tool and the drilled surfaces (Figure 9(c) and (d)). Breaking the chips to avoid the formation of long, continuous chips is necessary for an optimum drilling process. As shown in Figure 8, discontinuous chips could be produced in the drilling process of Al4 wt%MgSiC composites (Figure 9(c) and (d)).

Conclusion
The aim of this study was to analyze the machinability parameters after the addition of copper and/or silicon carbide particles to the Al4 wt%Mg metal matrix. The main drilling parameters studied in this study were drilling forces (torque and thrust force) and surface

roughness using a dry drilling process. Based on the measured machining outputs, it can be stated that the addition of copper and/or silicon carbide to the Al 4 wt%Mg metal matrix tends to improve the machinability of aluminum metal matrix material as aluminum metal is very soft. A signicant reduction in torque and thrust force during dry drilling was observed as copper content increased in the metal matrix (up to 5% in this study). Similarly, the addition of silicon carbide particles improves the machinability of the Al4 wt%Mg metal matrix. Most of the produced chips by dry drilling of aluminum-based materials were of continuous type. These types of continuous and adhesive-like chips are undesirable because they result in a poor quality of the produced surfaces. Improved surfaces could be obtained by adding copper to the Al4 wt%Mg alloy. Moreover, lower values of surface roughness were measured from drilling the composite materials containing up to 10 vol.% of silicon carbide particles. This is partially due to the ease of removal of these particles from the matrix as the bonding between the ceramic particles and metal matrix is relatively poor. Wear pattern of the tools can be used as another measure of machinability, However, this measure is important in order to optimize the drilling process and it aids

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Alrashdan et al. the selection of the best set of drilling parameters and cutting tools.
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Acknowledgments
The authors gratefully acknowledge the assistance of the committee of scientic research/Jordan University of Science and Technology for its support of this research (grant no. 29/2007). The authors also gratefully acknowledge the use of machine-shop and the laboratory facilities at Jordan University of Science and Technology, Irbid, Jordan. 14.

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25.

26.

27.

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