Drilling of Cross-Ply UHMWPE Laminates: A Study on the Effects of the Tool Geometry and Cutting Parameters on the Integrity of Components Articles uri icon

publication date

  • October 2023


  • 19


  • 15

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 2073-4360


  • Ultrahigh-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) is used in the defence industry mainly owing to its properties, such as excellent dimensional stability, excellent ballistic performance, and light weight. Although UHMWPE laminates are generally studied under impact loads, it is crucial to understand better the optimal machining conditions for assembling auxiliary structures in combat helmets or armour. This work analyses the machinability of UHMWPE laminates by drilling. The workpiece material has been manufactured through hot-pressing technology and subjected to drilling tests. High-speed steel (HSS) twist drills with two different point angles and a brad and spur drill that is 6 mm in diameter have been used for this study. Cutting forces, failure, and main damage modes are analysed, making it possible to extract relevant information for the industry. The main conclusion is that the drill with a smaller point angle has a better cutting force performance and less delamination at the exit zone (5.4 mm at a 60 m/min cutting speed and a 0.05 mm/rev feed) in the samples. This value represents a 46% improvement over the best result obtained in terms of delamination at the exit when using the tool with the larger point angle. However, the brad and spur drill revealed a post-drilling appearance with high fuzzing and delamination.


  • damage; drilling; machinability; uhmwpe