Ultrasonic excitation affects friction interactions between food materials and cutting tools

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In the food industry, ultrasonic cutting is used to improve separation by a reduction of the cutting force. This reduction can be attributed to the modification of tool–workpiece interactions at the cutting edge and along the tool flanks because of the superposition of the cutting movement with ultrasonic vibration of the cutting tool. In this study, model experiments were used to analyze friction between the flanks of a cutting tool and the material to be cut. Friction force at a commercial cutting sonotrode was quantified using combined cutting–friction experiments, and sliding friction tests were carried out by adapting a standard draw-off assembly and using an ultrasonic welding sonotrode as sliding surface. The impact of material parameters, ultrasonic amplitude, and the texture of the contacting food surface on friction force was investigated. The results show that ultrasonic vibration significantly reduces the sliding friction force. While the amplitude showed no influence within the tested range, the texture of the contact surface of the food affects the intensity of ultrasonic transportation effects. These effects are a result of mechanical interactions and of changes in material properties of the contact layer, which are induced by the deformation of contact points, friction heating and absorption heating because of the dissipation of mechanical vibration energy.

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