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What is the Thinnest Cut?

04/08/2015 6:26 AM

Dear respected gurus- I wonder if there is any physical limit for the thinnest cut in solid?

Is my intuition correct that bellow of a certain gap [distance], even when a piece of metal would be cut , let us assume in the magnitude of a micron, some physical forces wouldn't allow the 2 pieces to be seperated after they were cut?

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#1

Re: What is the Thinnest Cut?

04/08/2015 7:37 AM

when you say 'cut' you are talking about kerf, and not the material drop

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: What is the Thinnest Cut?

04/08/2015 7:50 AM

yes,thank you

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#4
In reply to #2

Re: What is the Thinnest Cut?

04/08/2015 8:38 AM

Well, I would like at Micro-fabrication

One thing is Micro-motor or nano-motors robots fabrication comes to mind. where the motors are actually build with atoms... no info on it.

Micro chip production may be have some techniques.... even though it comprised of laminating and etching.

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#3

Re: What is the Thinnest Cut?

04/08/2015 8:28 AM

I would think that if your cutter is thin enough to pass thru the intesrticial spaces between atoms, the basic forces would keep the material in one piece; just a guess, I'd like to learn from more educated answers; this is a very interesting question, let's see...

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#5

Re: What is the Thinnest Cut?

04/08/2015 9:10 AM

IIRC, Josephson gauge blocks can be so closely machined that they will weld to each other if pressed together. In principle, this suggests that a fine cut (probably finer than a micron) could self-heal.

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#6
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Re: What is the Thinnest Cut?

04/08/2015 9:18 AM

Do they actually weld, or is it just suction (you can separate them with a twisting motion)?

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#23
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Re: What is the Thinnest Cut?

04/09/2015 9:39 AM

Depends on whether the surfaces have a chance to oxidize before they are pressed together.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vacuum_cementing

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#7

Re: What is the Thinnest Cut?

04/08/2015 9:43 AM

No- at least not in the micron range.

If the material can be cut by a physical means (blade of some sort), the draft angle of the blade should separate the material slices from the body of the material. If you were cutting it with a wire made of a single long molecule, that would be another story as the displacement of atoms could possibly not be enough to disrupt the bonds between them (Help- a ghost wire that goes through walls!).

As an example, cryostats used in tissue research commonly cut sections that are just a couple of microns thick. These are controllably and repeatedly done.

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#24
In reply to #7

Re: What is the Thinnest Cut?

04/09/2015 10:36 PM

You are talking about the microtome within the cryostat are you not? I once made a field microtome using a modified razor to cut the tissue after supergluing it to a glass slide. Quicker than a frozen section.

Jim

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#8

Re: What is the Thinnest Cut?

04/08/2015 9:48 AM

graphene is 1 atom thick, hows that?

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#9

Re: What is the Thinnest Cut?

04/08/2015 10:50 AM

The OP has a thread going on cutting Basalt rock with a laser, I'm wondering if this is a continuation of the original question?

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#13
In reply to #9

Re: What is the Thinnest Cut?

04/08/2015 1:03 PM

yes, it is

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#10

Re: What is the Thinnest Cut?

04/08/2015 11:33 AM

If you're cutting anything other than an element, it would be one molecule thick. Anything thinner and you would not have your original material.

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#11
In reply to #10

Re: What is the Thinnest Cut?

04/08/2015 11:55 AM

we can always split that atom that would work right,.... its been done before....

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#25
In reply to #11

Re: What is the Thinnest Cut?

04/14/2015 9:24 AM

Did leave superficial damage and scarring though...

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#12

Re: What is the Thinnest Cut?

04/08/2015 11:57 AM

Here's my 2 cents.

With a physical blade or cutter, it depends on how thick your material to be cut is. If it is thin enough to be cut with a circular saw blade, even .0001" thick, the two pieces would separate in my opinion as the "blade" is removing a kerf and the "blade continues to be in the kerf keeping the material from "self-healing"

For say a "heat" cut (I.E. Laser) then the same applies but you risk the material "re-welding" or "self-healing" itself back together. I know my answer is a bit simplistic but you didn't specify the material (is it Basalt?), kerf width you want, or the method / machine used for the proposed cut.

If you are working on an idea for a "Patent" and don't want to disclose too much information then hire an Engineer with the particular education you feel is needed for your project and have your lawyer write up an NDA for all to sign!

Good luck!

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#14

Re: What is the Thinnest Cut?

04/08/2015 5:56 PM

In microscopic level, "cutting" becomes more and more meaningless as the Intermolecular forces take over. Now all cases are not the same, for instance molecular solids are just kept "solid" by van der Waals forces and the thinnest cut is one molecule wide. But most solids are not like that, some have crystal structure, some have amorphous structure, some take the one or the other form depending on some conditions (usually solidification speed). But at solidification, however slow, internal tensions between homogeneous or not molecule structures generate. That, makes in most cases the exact "cutting" plane unpredictable, and certainly not straight in the microscopic level, something that FORCES surfaces to separate MORE, even in the case of no material removal eg when a crack develops. There are of course materials that self-heal because of their physical or chemical properties, but these are the exceptions. Hope I didn't over-simplify answering and get beaten by material experts. S.M.

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#15
In reply to #14

Re: What is the Thinnest Cut?

04/08/2015 7:16 PM

Thank you for your beautiful comprehensive answer!

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#16
In reply to #15

Re: What is the Thinnest Cut?

04/08/2015 10:53 PM

Your question reminds me of the German team so proud of their thin platinum wire that they sent a sample to a competing Japanese team for spite. The Japanese sent the wire back without comment. The Germans looked closely at the diameter of their wire sample and they discovered it had a perfectly centered hole down the entire length. My son makes computer chips so small he wishes it were possible to make smaller atoms so they could reduce the chip size and increase density of the resistor grids. It all depends upon how intricate and precise you can be.

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#17
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Re: What is the Thinnest Cut?

04/09/2015 12:32 AM

Nice, really nice!

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#18

Re: What is the Thinnest Cut?

04/09/2015 2:48 AM

I can get some pretty thin Yew shavings with my spokeshave

Del

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#19

Re: What is the Thinnest Cut?

04/09/2015 4:09 AM

I think Simplemind is offering the best answer here.

For fine cutting one example is ion beam polishing of precision optics, thats removal at the atomic level - in that particular case I would hazzard a guess that the atoms removed from a lattice carry considerable energy as a result of being bombarded by the ion beam and would likely not bind to the surface.

On the other hand there are accounts of individual atoms being moved around on metalic ( I think ) surface under a SEM - I cannot get my hands on the article but as I remember it the atoms were judged fixed at their new altered position.

Nano-particles of some metals will bond to the surface of another metal simply by being rubbed on - as I understand it a form of micro peening -ie given a small enough particle of metal only tiny forces are necessary to attach it to a different metal surface. Having said that I am not sure that peening methods are judged to deliver as good a result as electroplating so the degree of bonding might be inferior - speculation there.

Consider what Feynman had to say on the subject, the following being a quote of one of his lectures on the impossibility of measuring friction coefficients for smooth metal interfaces

It was pointed out above that attempts to measure μ by sliding pure substances such as copper on copper will lead to spurious results, because the surfaces in contact are not pure copper, but are mixtures of oxides and other impurities. If we try to get absolutely pure copper, if we clean and polish the surfaces, outgas the materials in a vacuum, and take every conceivable precaution, we still do not get μ. For if we tilt the apparatus even to a vertical position, the slider will not fall off-the two pieces of copper stick together! The coefficient μ, which is ordinarily less than unity for reasonably hard surfaces, becomes several times unity! The reason for this unexpected behavior is that when the atoms in contact are all of the same kind, there is no way for the atoms to "know" that they are in different pieces of copper. When there are other atoms, in the oxides and greases and more complicated thin surface layers of contaminants in between, the atoms "know" when they are not on the same part. When we consider that it is forces between atoms that hold the copper together as a solid, it should become clear that it is impossible to get the right coefficient of friction for pure metals.

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#21
In reply to #19

Re: What is the Thinnest Cut?

04/09/2015 5:10 AM

Moving a single atom:
I think you are referring to AFM (atomicforce microscopy)
Peening:
I suspect that atomic level peening will give the strongest adhesion possible, because the surfaces have to be ultra-clean.

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#20

Re: What is the Thinnest Cut?

04/09/2015 4:16 AM

Must also depend on the thickness of the part being cut. We have had 10 micron (0.0004") slots cut in parts but they were only 5 microns thick. I don't think it would work in, say, 10mm material.

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#22

Re: What is the Thinnest Cut?

04/09/2015 5:12 AM

As a demonstration that there is no ultimate limit:
Cleaving will separate two layers of a crystalline material with zero kerf.

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