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Open Access Nano Express

Atomistic aspects of ductile responses of cubic silicon carbide during nanometric cutting

Saurav Goel, Xichun Luo*, Robert L Reuben and Waleed Bin Rashid

Author Affiliations

School of Engineering and Physical Sciences, Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh, EH144AS, Scotland, UK

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2011, 6:589  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-6-589

Published: 11 November 2011

Abstract

Cubic silicon carbide (SiC) is an extremely hard and brittle material having unique blend of material properties which makes it suitable candidate for microelectromechanical systems and nanoelectromechanical systems applications. Although, SiC can be machined in ductile regime at nanoscale through single-point diamond turning process, the root cause of the ductile response of SiC has not been understood yet which impedes significant exploitation of this ceramic material. In this paper, molecular dynamics simulation has been carried out to investigate the atomistic aspects of ductile response of SiC during nanometric cutting process. Simulation results show that cubic SiC undergoes sp3-sp2 order-disorder transition resulting in the formation of SiC-graphene-like substance with a growth rate dependent on the cutting conditions. The disorder transition of SiC causes the ductile response during its nanometric cutting operations. It was further found out that the continuous abrasive action between the diamond tool and SiC causes simultaneous sp3-sp2 order-disorder transition of diamond tool which results in graphitization of diamond and consequent tool wear.

Keywords:
ductile regime nanometric cutting; silicon carbide; diamond tool; tool wear