Acta Geotechnica

, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 519–534 | Cite as

Experimental investigation on the effect of wear flat inclination on the cutting response of a blunt tool in rock cutting

  • Iman RostamsowlatEmail author
  • Thomas Richard
  • Brian Evans
Research Paper


A vast majority of experimental researches focuses on the cutting action of a sharp cutter, while there has been limited experimental work devoted to the study of the contact process at the wear flat-rock interface. The specific objective of this study is to determine the effect of the wear flat inclination angle (\(\beta\)) with respect to the cutter velocity vector (\(\varvec{v}\)) on both the contact stress (\(\sigma\)) and friction coefficient (\(\mu\)) mobilized at the wear flat-rock interface. An extensive and comprehensive set of cutting experiments was carried out on thirteen different sedimentary quarry rock samples using a state-of-the-art rock cutting equipment. A unique cutter holder was purposely designed and manufactured along with a precise experimental protocol implemented in order to change the back rake angle and therefore the inclination \(\beta\) by steps of \(0.10^{\circ }\). The experimental observations confirm the existence of three regimes of frictional contact (identified as elastic, elasto-plastic and plastic) for all rock samples. Further, the results suggest that the scaled contact stress is predominantly controlled by a dimensionless number \(\eta =\frac{E^{*}\tan \beta }{q}\) with \(E^{*}\) the plane strain elastic modulus and q the rock strength.


Contact stress Frictional contact Friction coefficient Rock cutting Wear flat inclination angle 

List of symbols


Total force acting on the cutter

\(F_\mathrm{c}, F_\mathrm{f}\)

Total cutting and frictional contact forces

\(F_\mathrm{cn}, F_\mathrm{cs}\)

Normal and tangential components of the cutting force

\(F_\mathrm{fn}, F_\mathrm{fs}\)

Normal and tangential components of the frictional contact force

\(\tilde{F_\mathrm{fn}}, \tilde{F_\mathrm{fs}}\)

Projected components of the contact force components


Depth of cut


Cross-sectional area of groove traced by cutter


Wear flat area


Width of cutter


Uni-axial compressive strength of the rock material


Ratio of normal component to tangential component of cutting force


Intrinsic specific energy


Back rake angle

\(\theta _{*}\)

Initial back rake angle

\(\varDelta \theta _{*}\)

Relative increment of back rake angle


Interfacial friction angle


Horizontal cutting velocity


Friction angle


Friction coefficient


Normal contact stress


Length of wear flat surface


Inclination angle of wear flat with respect to velocity vector


Elastic modulus of the rock material


Poisson’s ratio of the rock material


Internal friction angle of the rock material


Scaled contact stress


Dimensionless number


Chamfer angle

\(\varDelta z\)

Relative vertical displacement of spindle



The first author would like to thank Joel Sarout and Jeremie Dautriat at CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) for granting access to Rock Mechanics Testing laboratory, research facilities, and particularly rock samples. The authors would like to thank Prof. Emmanuel Detournay at the University of Minnesota for his valuable and fruitful discussions. A special thanks to Gregory Lupton and Stephen Banks at CSIRO for their assistance in the design of cutter holder and tailored data acquisition system, respectively. The work has been supported by the Deep Exploration Technologies Cooperative Research Centre whose activities are funded by the Australian Government’s Cooperative Research Centre Programme. This is DET CRC Document 2017/1032.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Deep Exploration Technologies CRC, Department of Petroleum EngineeringCurtin UniversityKensingtonAustralia
  2. 2.Epslog SALiegeBelgium
  3. 3.Department of Petroleum EngineeringCurtin UniversityKensingtonAustralia

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