The drilling of carbon fibre composite–aluminium stacks and its effect on hole quality and integrity

Sein Leung Soo, Ali M. Abdelhafeez, Maojun Li, Richard Hood, Chong Meng Lim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


The article details experimental work to evaluate tool wear, cutting forces/torque and associated hole quality/accuracy following single-shot drilling of twin layer CFRP/AA7010 stacks. A full factorial experiment was initially planned involving variation in cutting speed (60 and 120 m/min), feed rate (0.15 and 0.30 mm/rev) and drill tip geometry (double cone and flat point drills). While flank wear for the flat point drills did not exceed 40 µm even after 120 holes irrespective of operating conditions, the double cone geometry suffered catastrophic failure after only four holes at the lowest parameter combination. Therefore, the remaining tests involving the double cone drill at higher operating parameters were subsequently halted. Feed rate had a significant influence on torque in both the CFRP and Al layers, although thrust force and torque generally remained stable over the test duration. Hole diameter was typically up to 34 µm above the nominal value of 6.38 mm with corresponding out of roundness of <60 µm. Burrs were prevalent at hole exit in all tests, with an average height of ∼120 µm when drilling at the highest cutting speed–feed rate parameter combination. Similarly, the delamination factor at hole entry increased by up to 23% when operating at the higher feed rate level.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1323-1331
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part B: Journal of Engineering Manufacture
Issue number4
Early online date31 Aug 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019

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© IMechE 2017.


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