Types and applications of superhard material tools

17 March 2023

Superhard materials are a general term for substances with high hardness represented by diamond.


Superhard material tools are made of superhard materials. They are an advanced tool among human production tools, especially in modern manufacturing. Superhard material tools have created high productivity for the manufacturing industry with their extraordinary sharpness and performance. ! Therefore, superhard materials such as diamond are called "industrial teeth".


Types of cutting tools for superhard materials

There are many types of superhard material tools, mainly single crystal diamond tools (mainly used for processing non-ferrous metals and alloys), polycrystalline diamond tools (PCD tools), polycrystalline cubic boron nitride (PCBN), CVD diamond tools, etc.

Superhard material tools are also widely used, and have been widely used in various fields such as mechanical processing, automobile manufacturing, aerospace, medical equipment, and electronic information.


1. Single crystal diamond tool

Single crystal diamond tool is currently the main cutting tool for ultra-precision machining of non-ferrous metals. It can realize mirror surface processing, and can process extremely high workpiece precision and extremely low surface roughness. The cutting effect is very bright, and it is a recognized, ideal and irreplaceable ultra-precision machining tool.

diamond tool

Features of single crystal diamond tools:

▷ High hardness, good wear resistance

▷ The service life is 100 times or even hundreds of times that of cemented carbide tools

▷ Low coefficient of friction: The coefficient of friction between diamond tools and non-ferrous metals is lower than that of other tools. The friction coefficient is low, the deformation is small during processing, and the cutting force can be reduced.

▷ The cutting edge is very sharp: the cutting edge of the diamond tool can be ground very sharply, and can perform ultra-thin cutting and ultra-precision machining.


Applications of single crystal diamond tools:

Diamond cutting tools are mainly used in fine cutting of non-ferrous metals (such as gold, silver and platinum) and non-metallic materials at high speed, and in the processing of laser mirrors, astronomical telescopes, optical instruments and other parts.


2. Polycrystalline diamond (PCD)

PCD cutter is a cutter made of superhard material PCD (polycrystalline diamond) and cutter substrate through a special process. It is mainly used for processing wear-resistant non-ferrous metals and their alloys and non-metallic materials.


PCD tool features:

▷ High hardness, high compressive strength, and good wear resistance.

▷ Compared with carbide tools, it can maintain sharpness and cutting efficiency in a long cutting process, and its service life is much higher than that of carbide tools.

 PCD inserts

Application of PCD tools:

CNC tools such as PCD milling cutters and boring cutters are being widely used in automatic production lines of high-strength and high-hardness silicon-aluminum alloy parts, such as skirts, cylinder blocks, and transformers for aluminum alloy pistons in automobile and motorcycle engines, because The silicon content of the part material is high, and the cemented carbide tool is not competent, but the life of the PCD tool is much higher than that of the cemented carbide tool, which is dozens or even hundreds of times of the life of the cemented carbide tool, and can greatly improve the cutting speed, Processing efficiency, and workpiece processing quality.


At present, polycrystalline diamond (PCD) cutting tools have been widely used in non-ferrous metal processing, automobile, motorcycle, aerospace, wood, carbon fiber, and alloy parts processing.


3. CVD diamond tool

CVD diamond refers to the use of chemical vapor deposition (CVD) to synthesize diamond films on heterogeneous substrates (such as cemented carbide, ceramics, etc.), and CVD diamond knives have exactly the same structure and characteristics as natural diamonds.

CVD Tool

CVD diamond tool features:

The performance of CVD diamonds is very close to that of natural diamonds. It has the advantages of natural single-crystal diamond and polycrystalline diamond (PCD) and overcomes their shortcomings to a certain extent.


CVD diamond tool application:

CVD diamond tools can cut non-ferrous metals, silicon aluminum alloys, hard aluminum alloys, composite materials, etc., and can achieve ultra-precision machining. CVD diamond tools are considered to be ideal tools for non-ferrous materials!


4. Cubic boron nitride (CBN)


Cubic boron nitride is a superhard tool material obtained by high temperature and high-pressure technology.

 CBN Inserts

Cubic boron nitride features:

▷ It has a hardness and strength close to that of a diamond.

▷ Strong performance stability, cubic boron nitride has the effect of resisting high temperature and can be used for high-speed cutting of hard steel, high-temperature alloys, high-nickel and high-cobalt alloys.

▷ Excellent chemical stability, and it does not have a chemical interaction with iron-based materials during high-temperature processing, and it will not wear out sharply when it encounters iron like a diamond.

▷ It has good thermal conductivity. Although the thermal conductivity of CBN cannot catch up with diamond, the thermal conductivity of PCBN is second only to diamond among various tool materials, and is much higher than high-speed steel and cemented carbide.


Cubic boron nitride tool application:

Cubic boron nitride is suitable for finishing various difficult-to-cut materials such as hardened steel, hard cast iron, superalloy, hard alloy, and surface spraying materials.


New superhard material cutting tools will play a greater role in the future cutting field!

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