Sharpness of unserrated blades for biomaterial and biocomosites


This project is funded under the Advanced Technology Research Program. This project has a commercial leaning and the main focus of the research work will be the development of a standardized technique for measurement of cutting sharpness for biomaterials and biocomposites. Pending success of the research work it is envisaged that this project can lead to the development of a campus company or patent agreement on the prototype. An additional €200,000 has been granted to UCD as a support partner under the ATRP. This is the first time that an Institute of Technology has been successful as a lead partner in this program.

The Research Team

Mr. Ger O’Reilly Principal Researcher Department of Engineering, IT, Sligo.
Dr. Brendan McCormack Joint Researcher Department of Engineering, IT, Sligo.
Dr. Michael Gilchrist Associate Researcher UCD
Mr. Martyin Hussey Associate Reseacher UCD
Mr. Conall Doran Research Student Department of Engineering, IT, Sligo.


Currently, there is no accepted method to quantify the sharpness of industrial tools and cutting instruments. Standards related to assessing instruments are simplistic and the methods proposed to quantifying sharpness usually gives rise to blunting of the edge. In order to advance the understanding of ‘what is sharpness’, there is a need to develop models which are capable to predicting sharpness based on key physical attributes of the tool and or cutting instrument. This project will be concerned with identifying the key parameters which contribute to sharpness and with the mathematics techniques required to formulate a model to represent sharpness. In addition to incorporating the dimensions to the cutting device, the model should also account for operational conditions such as lubrication, cooling, speed, wear rate and the development of blunting.

Project Details

The first stage of the research will involve a thorough review of the literature pertaining to experimental and theoretical models of sharpness. In particular, there are many workshop based studies which have measured sharpness of machine tools under different cutting conditions. There are also a number of international standards relate to quantifying sharpness which will need to be reviewed. Furthermore, mathematical techniques for defining a edge which incorporate controlling geometric parameters will also need to be investigated.

The second stage of the work will be concerned with development of a model of sharpness. This will attempt to incorporate the controlling parameters (both geometric and physical conditions) into suitable theoretical representations of sharpness. The initial approach will be to develop simple models of sharpness, under ‘ideal’ conditions, and to then incorporate additional terms in the equation to account for more realistic conditions.

Finally, methods to evaluate the theoretical model will be developed and tested. These may require experimental work, or may draw on data already presented in the literature. The main objective will be to establish in the models can accurately predict the state of sharpness of a cutting edge. the extent to which the model is accurate, for a series of case studies, incorporating different realistic conditions, will then be explored.