Composite laminates in significant numbers are rendered unacceptable due to delamination that occurs during the drilling operation. Thrust generated during the drilling operation is identified as responsible for delamination. Expressions developed for critical thrusts and critical feed rates, by modeling the delamination zone as an elliptical plate in unidirectional laminates, appear to be fairly accurate. It has been demonstrated that the critical thrusts and feed rates obtained for unidirectional laminates can be conservatively used for multi-directional laminates. With regard to the tool geometry, the chisel edge width appears to be the single most important factor contributing to the thrust force and hence delamination. A diamond-impregnated tubular drill tool was designed and tested. This tool resulted in a much smaller thrust and much better hole quality as compared with the standard twist drills.

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