Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Metal too 'gummy' to cut? Draw on it with a Sharpie or glue stick, science says

19.07.2018

Your everyday permanent markers, glue sticks and packing tape may offer a surprisingly low-tech solution to a long-standing nuisance in the manufacturing industry: Making soft and ductile, or so-called "gummy" metals easier to cut.

What makes inks and adhesives effective isn't their chemical content, but their stickiness to the surface of any gummy metal such as nickel, aluminum, stainless steels or copper, researchers at Purdue University and the University of West Florida find in a study recently published in Physical Review Applied.


Purdue researchers have discovered a simple solution for cutting soft gummy metals (left) just as cleanly and easily as hard metals (right).

Credit: Purdue University image/Anirudh Udupa

These adhesives help achieve a smoother, cleaner and faster cut than current machining processes, impacting applications ranging from the manufacturing of orthopedic implants and surgical instruments to aerospace components.

"A wide range of products rely on the machining of gummy metals. These could be something we use every day, such as the valve in a sink faucet, or something more critical like a compressor part in the jet engine of an airplane," said James Mann, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the University of West Florida and Purdue alumnus.

If a significant improvement can be made to the "machinability" of gummy metals or alloys - which is how well they cut, drill or grind - then there is potential to lower the cost of products, improve their performance or enable new and improved designs.

"Gummy metals characteristically deform in a very wiggly manner," said Srinivasan Chandrasekar, Purdue professor of industrial engineering. "This wiggly flow involves significant energy consumption, which means that these metals require more force to machine than even some hard metals. We needed to find a way to suppress this wiggly flow."

Getting rid of the wiggles means that the metal now tends to act more like a brittle ceramic or glass in the spot where it needs to be cut.

One well-known way to make the gummy metal brittle is by coating it with a suitable liquid metal, such as gallium in the case of aluminum. Liquid metals like these, however, tend to work too well; diffusing through the surface and causing the whole metal to crumble into a powder.

"This makes the metal being machined unusable," Chandrasekar said.

Other attempts met with limited success tended to be either toxic or result in tears and cracks on the machined surface. The researchers then began to explore other benign chemical media that would cut cleaner.

Marking with ink or attaching any adhesive on the metal's surface dramatically reduced the force of cutting without the whole metal falling apart, leaving a clean cut in seconds. The quality of the machined surface also greatly improved. Watch a YouTube video to see how at https://youtu.be/gjwPAgFAQUE.

Stickiness didn't initially stand out as a solution that permanent markers, glue sticks and tape have in common.

"We looked at the chemical ingredients of the permanent ink, isolated each of those on the metal's surface, and there was no noticeable effect," said Anirudh Udupa, lead author on the study and a postdoctoral researcher in Purdue's School of Industrial Engineering. "So we realized that it's not a particular chemical but the ink itself sticking to the metal through a physical adsorption mechanism."

The Sharpie and adhesives also appeared to work on many gummy metals, regardless of the cutting tool.

"In hindsight, we can tell you why certain things weren't successful in previous work. It all comes back to the existence of this wiggly flow," said Koushik Viswanathan, Purdue postdoctoral researcher in industrial engineering. "Some people might have been trying to cut copper, for example, that was in the hard state rather than in the soft state."

To the researchers' knowledge, using permanent markers, glues or tape to make gummy metals easier to machine does not pose any environmental hazards.

Next, Chandrasekar's group will be assessing the degree of stickiness that works best for cutting gummy metals and exploring ways to advance the application of this technology into industrial practice.

###

This research is supported by the U.S. Army Research Office (W911NF-15-1-0591), the National Science Foundation (CMMI 1562470 and DMR 1610094) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DE-EE0007868).

Media Contact

Kayla Wiles
wiles5@purdue.edu
765-494-2432

 @PurdueUnivNews

http://www.purdue.edu/ 

Kayla Wiles | EurekAlert!
Further information:
https://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2018/Q3/metal-too-gummy-to-cut-draw-on-it-with-a-sharpie-or-glue-stick,-science-says.html
http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevApplied.10.014009

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht Machine learning methods provide new insights into organic-inorganic interfaces
04.08.2020 | Technische Universität Graz

nachricht Unusual electron sharing found in cool crystal
31.07.2020 | Nagoya University

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: AI & single-cell genomics

New software predicts cell fate

Traditional single-cell sequencing methods help to reveal insights about cellular differences and functions - but they do this with static snapshots only...

Im Focus: TU Graz Researchers synthesize nanoparticles tailored for special applications

“Core-shell” clusters pave the way for new efficient nanomaterials that make catalysts, magnetic and laser sensors or measuring devices for detecting electromagnetic radiation more efficient.

Whether in innovative high-tech materials, more powerful computer chips, pharmaceuticals or in the field of renewable energies, nanoparticles – smallest...

Im Focus: Tailored light inspired by nature

An international research team with Prof. Cornelia Denz from the Institute of Applied Physics at the University of Münster develop for the first time light fields using caustics that do not change during propagation. With the new method, the physicists cleverly exploit light structures that can be seen in rainbows or when light is transmitted through drinking glasses.

Modern applications as high resolution microsopy or micro- or nanoscale material processing require customized laser beams that do not change during...

Im Focus: NYUAD astrophysicist investigates the possibility of life below the surface of Mars

  • A rover expected to explore below the surface of Mars in 2022 has the potential to provide more insights
  • The findings published in Scientific Reports, Springer Nature suggests the presence of traces of water on Mars, raising the question of the possibility of a life-supporting environment

Although no life has been detected on the Martian surface, a new study from astrophysicist and research scientist at the Center for Space Science at NYU Abu...

Im Focus: Manipulating non-magnetic atoms in a chromium halide enables tuning of magnetic properties

New approach creates synthetic layered magnets with unprecedented level of control over their magnetic properties

The magnetic properties of a chromium halide can be tuned by manipulating the non-magnetic atoms in the material, a team, led by Boston College researchers,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2020”: The final touches for surfaces

23.07.2020 | Event News

Conference radar for cybersecurity

21.07.2020 | Event News

Contact Tracing Apps against COVID-19: German National Academy Leopoldina hosts international virtual panel discussion

07.07.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

First radio detection of an extrasolar planetary system around a main-sequence star

04.08.2020 | Physics and Astronomy

The art of making tiny holes

04.08.2020 | Physics and Astronomy

Early Mars was covered in ice sheets, not flowing rivers

04.08.2020 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>