Journal Article


M. D. Gilchrist
M. Hussey
Conor T. McCarthy



crack initiation soft solids first order sharpness cutting mechanics finite element model polymers indentation

On the sharpness of straight edge blades in cutting soft solids: Part I – indentation experiments (2007)

Abstract The sharpness of a blade is a key parameter in cutting soft solids, such as biological tissues, foodstuffs or elastomeric materials. It has a first order effect on the effort, and hence energy needed to cut, the quality of the cut surface and the life of the cutting instrument. To date, there is no standard definition, measurement or protocol to quantify blade sharpness. This paper derives a quantitative index of blade sharpness via indentation experiments in which elastomeric materials are cut using both sharp and blunt straight edge blades. It is found that the depth of blade indentation required to initiate a cut or crack in the target material is a function of the condition or sharpness of the blade’s cutting edge, and this property is used to formulate a so-called “blade sharpness index” (BSI). It is shown theoretically that this index is zero for an infinitely sharp blade and increases in a quadratic manner for increasing bluntness. For the blades tested herein, the sharpness index was found to vary between 0.2 for sharp blades and 0.5 for blunt blades, respectively. To examine the suitability of the index in other cutting configurations, experiments are performed using different blade types, target materials and cutting rates and it is found that the index is independent of the target material and cutting rate and thus pertains to the blade only. In the companion Part II to this paper a finite element model is developed to examine the effect of blade geometry on the sharpness index derived herein.
Collections Ireland -> University College Dublin -> Mechanical & Materials Engineering Research Collection
Ireland -> University College Dublin -> College of Engineering & Architecture
Ireland -> University College Dublin -> School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering

Full list of authors on original publication

M. D. Gilchrist, M. Hussey, Conor T. McCarthy

Experts in our system

M. D. Gilchrist
University College Dublin
Total Publications: 172