If you asked a room of engineers and machine operators what they thought of superalloys, you’d probably get a mixed bag of a response. Those who work in industries that use these incredibly durable, heat-resistant materials most likely hold a great appreciation for their unique, hardy properties. Those who have to cut and machine super alloys into the correct shape, however, will likely express frustration and annoyance at the super tough alloys.

What Are Super Alloys?

Super alloys, also known as high-performance alloys or heat resistant super alloys (HRSA), in an alloy that is unbelievably durable and heat resistant, which allows it to operate under high speeds and pressures even at a high fraction of its melting point. This means that they are immune to thermal creed deformation, which is where materials experience deformation under stress when they are approaching their melting point.

Can Super Alloys Be Machined?

Ever since their introduction into the industry, super alloys have proven incredibly difficult to machine. Around double the amount of power is required in order to machine super alloys, compared to low-alloy steel, with the specific cutting force required raising from 2,500 N/Sq. m for steel to 4,000 N/Sq. m for super alloys. But in spite of this, yes! With cutting edge technology and the latest advanced in the machining industry, super alloys can be machined! Super alloys are fantastic materials for use in developing new technologies for energy, medical, and aerospace applications.

What Problems Can Super Alloy Machining Cause?

The main problem with machining super alloys comes from their main selling point – the more durable and heat resistant a material is the most use it has to us, but these features also make them woefully difficult to shape. Machining super alloys causes multiple different types of wear or damage to the cutting tools used. The cutting tool is put under considerable heat and pressure, making it vulnerable to chipping, wearing, or the formation of burrs. Specific examples of wear caused my machining of super alloys includes notch wear, top-slice wear, and deformation of the cutting edge.