Cutting Fluids – What Are They?

The metal cutting process leads to the generation of heat due to friction of the tool-workpiece interface and plastic deformation of the metal. Approximately 95% of the energy used in metal removal is converted into heat, leading to inefficiency or failure.

Cutting fluids prevent heat production during metalworking and machining processes. So, what are cutting fluids? Cutting fluids are usually in liquid form and are applied to chip zone to enhance the cutting life and condition of the tool. They have different functions in machining.

The following information will help you clearly understand the question at hand: What are cutting fluids? But let’s first look at the functions of cutting fluids in machining

1. Cool Tool and Workpiece

Cutting fluids cool both the tool and workpiece as fluids carry the generated heat during the machining process. To achieve this, you need to apply sufficient cutting fluid. It also reduces friction at the workpiece and tool interface.

2. Reduce Friction

Reduced friction leads to an increased lifespan of a tool. It also improves the surface finish of work. The cutting fluid prevents the workpiece from extreme thermal distortion.

3. Reduce the Coefficient of Friction

Lubricating a cutting tool by use of cutting fluid reduces the coefficient of friction between tool and work. It reduces the consumption of energy in metal removal leading to less wear, which finally increases the lifespan of the tool.

4. Improve the Surface Finish

As stated earlier, cutting fluids improve the surface finish. It breaks the chip into small parts and protects the surface finish from corrosion.

In summary, the four primary functions of metalworking fluids are cooling, lubrication, chip removal, and corrosion control.

There is more in defining cutting fluids. The functions help us to understand the benefits of cutting fluids. Precisely, cutting fluids are applied in matters to do with metal machining.

For a further explanation of what are cutting fluids, you need to understand the four major categories of cutting fluids.

1. Straight Oils

Straight oils are non-emulsifiable. They are very critical in machining duties as they function in the undiluted state. They are composed of base mineral and petroleum oil. They usually contain polar lubricants such as fats, esters, and vegetable oils. They may also have extreme pressure additives like phosphorus, chlorine, and sulphur. Straight oils are best lubricants, but they have poor cooling qualities.

2. Synthetic Fluids

Synthetic fluids don’t have a basis of petroleum or mineral oil. They instead are made of alkaline organic and inorganic compounds with other additives that prevent corrosion. They work best in diluted form. Synthetic fluids are the best coolants of out of all the four types of fluids.

3. Soluble Oils

Soluble oils are generally soluble in water. The final concentration contains an emulsion and a base of mineral oil that produce a steady emulsion. They work best in diluted state and provide excellent lubrication besides heat transferability. They are cheap and highly used industrial lubricants and fluid.

4. Semi-synthetic fluids

These varieties of fluids are precisely a mixture of synthetic fluids and soluble oils. Their cost and the rate of heat transfer are the averages of soluble and synthetic fluids. This implies that you should go for semi-synthetic fluid if you want the benefit of both soluble and synthetic oils.

This information helps you understand the differences between various cutting fluids and the right choice for you.

Cutting fluids cool the work piece, which prevents size problems, distortion, and burning or heat cracks in grinding. Cooling reduces wear and tear caused by friction, and loss of cutting ability by retaining tool heat below its softening range.

What are cutting fluids? You now have vital information on what they are and their role in machining processes.


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