This experiment was started to figure how the precision machining of polymer matrix composites differ from metals such as aluminum and steel. Polymer matrix composites are highly used in powered vehicles for their strength and light weight properties, but they are typically not machined to their final product how metals are. Polymer matrix composites are typically manufactured near their final shape, with some trimming involved to complete its shape. This research machined carbon fiber manufactured through a wet layup and through resin infusion, as well as aluminum and steel to compare their machineability and their surface finish. These materials were machined using a CNC mill, while comparing the properties of machineability and surface finish when using three different endmills: a AlTiN, a DLC, and a Diamond coated endmill. The three endmills demonstrated different positives and negatives of machining with the different materials. First, the best endmill to machine polymer matrix composites is a diamond coated endmill because it provides the best surface finish on composite materials, and it takes the least amount of effort to machine the material. Second, it is best to machine polymer matrix composite materials that have been manufactured through wet layups over materials made through resin infusion since there is less delamination through these layups. Third, while machining polymer matrix composites the best direction to machine the material with the least amount of delamination is in the same direction that the fiber is placed. Lastly, the research determined that there is not a significant difference between machining aluminum and polymer matrix composites, except that the composites experience delamination from machining with some endmills.


Kuldeep Agarwal

Committee Member

Gary Mead

Committee Member

Shaheen Ahmed

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Science (MS)

Program of Study

Manufacturing Engineering Technology


Automotive and Manufacturing Engineering Technology


Science, Engineering and Technology



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