University of California scientists working at Los Alamos National Laboratory have developed a novel machining technique that uses a jet of solid carbon dioxide (CO2) to cool/lubricate the surface of metal parts and remove the cut material during machining. Called Snow-Machining, the process could someday eliminate the use of oil-based or synthetic chemical fluids for metal cutting and metal parts cleaning in industry.
The Snow-Machining technology creates a high velocity stream of small, micron-size dry ice particles through the process of adiabatic expansion of liquid carbon dioxide as it passes through a 0.012 inch diameter nozzle. The resulting particulate CO2 acts as a mechanical force to blast away the waste metal material while at the same time cooling and lubricating the surface of the machined part.
Experts in the Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics at Michigan Technological University estimate that American industry uses more than 100 million gallons of metalworking oil each year and that the amount of cutting fluids used is at least several times that of metalworking oil.
Todd Hanson | EurekAlert!
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