MCTool21 – Manufacturing of cutting tools for the 21st century: from nano-scale material design to numerical process simulation


The premature degradation of cutting tool materials is one of the problems that aerospace and automotive industries are now facing. The MCTool21 project will improve the machinability of alloys, using an optimized coating system.

Increasing requirements on high speed and dry cutting applications open up new demands on the quality of cutting tool materials. Several solutions have been tried to improve the machinability of these alloys, being the application of thin solid films by sputtering techniques the most promising. However, so far, such solution doesn’t yet allow to meet the need for high speed machining and green manufacturing required for machining those materials.

Recently, a successful UT Austin Portugal exploratory project was running, involving the R&D promoters of this proposal, to develop a newly efficient green coating system with capacity to control the release of a lubricious phase able to improve the cutting performance of hard-to-machine materials. The coatings, based on the TiSiAgN system, were deposited with a nanocomposite structure (TiN grains imbibed in a Si-N phase) with Ag in the form of nanoclusters evenly distributed in the bulk. Thus, the adhesion of the counterpart material to the coating is avoided with a significant decrease on the friction coefficient, preventing the growth of building edges which often leads to the cutting tool failure.

Expected Outcomes

  • An optimized coating system which can be upscaled to industry;
  • Simulation tools to optimize the size, geometry as well as to predict the right machining parameters for improvement of the performance of the cutting tool directed to hard-to-machine materials.
Start Date – End Date: April 1, 2020 – March 31, 2023
Scientific Area: Nanotechnologies
Keywords: Cutting tool materials, coating systems, industry
Lead Beneficiary (PT): Inovatools Portugal, Unipessoal, LDA
Universidade de Coimbra
Universidade do Minho
PIs at UT Austin: Gregory J. Rodin (Oden Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences, Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, UT Austin)
Filippo Mangolini (Cockrell School of Engineering, Walker Department of Mechanical Engineering, UT Austin)
Total Eligible Investment (PT): 886 000,25 EUR
Total Eligible Investment (US): 791 736,00 USD
Funding Sources Distribution:  



Manufacturing of cutting tools for the 21st century: from nano-scale material design to numerical process simulation

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