Hole quality assessment following drilling of metallic-composite stacks

Islam Shyha, Sein Leung Soo, David Aspinwall, Sam Bradley, Richard Perry, Peter Harden, Stuart Dawson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

181 Citations (Scopus)


The use of material stacks comprising titanium, carbon fibre reinforced plastics (CFRPs) and aluminium is expanding for structural aerospace applications, especially where high mechanical loads exist such as for aircraft wing and tail-plane components. Here, the production of bolt/fixation holes is essential to the manufacturing process in order to facilitate part assembly. The paper outlines an analysis of hole quality/integrity following drilling of titanium/CFRP/aluminium stacks under flood cutting fluid and spray mist environments. Uncoated and coated (CVD diamond and hardmetal) tungsten carbide drill performance is evaluated against key response measures including hole size, out of roundness, cylindricity, burr height, hole edge quality, average surface roughness (Ra), microhardness (of the metallic elements) and swarf morphology. Burr height (up to 0.5 mm) was observed to be greater at the hole exit (aluminium) compared to hole entry (titanium) while delamination was significantly reduced when machining CFRP in the stack configuration as opposed to a standalone arrangement. Spiral shaped continuous aluminium swarf was prevalent while both short and long helical chips were found with the titanium material when cutting wet. In contrast, the CFRP layer typically produced dusty black composite particles suspended in the soluble oil of the coolant emulsion.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)569-578
JournalInternational Journal of Machine Tools and Manufacture
Issue number7-8
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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