Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name



Mechanical, Automotive, and Materials Engineering

First Advisor

Johrendt, Jennifer

Second Advisor

Tutunea-Fatan, Remus


carbon fiber; cutting blade; rotary chopping; SMC; wear




As vehicle lightweighting continues to become a widespread trend in the automotive industry, production methods for composite materials must continue to improve. Carbon fiber SMC (sheet molding compound) utilizes rotary chopping to produce sheets of composite material which can be molded to form lightweight vehicle parts, but high blade wear rates are seen when cutting carbon fibers. Experiments were performed to examine the wear progression of cutting blades during rotary carbon fiber chopping and to investigate the effect that profiled backing has on blade wear. Blade wear measurements were obtained by measuring worn regions and blade tips, and extensive micrographs of blade surfaces at different wear levels were collected. Most intentionally-profiled backings did not improve blade wear rates; however, backings prone to forming their own deep grooves reduced wear rate by up to 65%. Several explanations of how wear occurs and progresses under different conditions were developed.