Micro polishing is a process used when a fine surface quality is desired. In optics, it represents the key process to achieve low surface roughness and form error required for optics application. Automated micro polishing with polymer-based tools requires a better understanding of the interaction between tool and workpiece than conventional polishing, and an important phenomenon that has to be taken into account is polymer relaxation. Stress relaxation is due to the non-linear viscoelastic behaviour of polymers. This relaxation is a time-dependent phenomenon that causes a decrease in stress, although the strain is kept constant. In this work, the effect of polymer stress relaxation on polishing is studied. While this effect can be neglected in conventional polishing, it becomes an essential and dominant factor in micro polishing. Characterization tests are conducted on a very common extruded polyurethane (LP-66) used in polishing. Subsequently, bonnet polishing using a spherical tool with a diameter of 1 mm is performed for 8 minutes on a nickel sample. Due to relaxation, the induced stress on the tool decreases during polishing, causing a reduction in the polishing pressure. This implies a reduction in the material removal rate in accordance with Preston’s law. Experimental results are in accordance with the physical phenomenon. The polymer relaxation characteristics can be used to compensate the tool path to achieve uniform removal along the polished surface.
- Stress relaxation
- Micro polishing