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December 2017

Water Jet Cutting

A History of Water Jet Cutting

As the name implies, water jet cutting is a method of cutting materials with water jet cutter. A cutter of said nature involves a high-pressure jet of water capable of cutting through materials. Other tools with similar system may use a mixture of both water and abrasive substances, specifically referred to as abrasive jet cutting. Abrasive jet is employed when cutting materials that are hard such as granite and metal. Pure water jet cutting is also called water-only cutting and is used to cut softer materials such as wood or rubber. Water jet cutting is a method employed in the molding of machine parts.

The method is preferred especially when other cutting methods would likely produce heat, which may damage the materials in the process. Industries that employ water jet cutting include aerospace and mining, where the method is used for reaming, shaping, and cutting. The method has a very long history and has gone through several times of improvement to refine the technology before it becomes a widely available method used today.

The use of highly pressurized water to erode materials in hydraulic mining was in use since at least mid-1800s. But the prevalence of jets of water that are narrow appeared first in the 1930s, which was used as industrial cutting device. Low-pressure water jet cutting method was reserved only for applications on materials that are really soft such as paper. The Paper Patents Company in Wisconsin came up with a machine capable of metering, cutting, and reeling paper, which incorporated a diagonal moving water jet nozzle.

Durox International’s Carl Johnson in Luxembourg invented a cutting method that involves a highly pressurized water jet that was thin enough to cut plastic in 1956. North American Aviation’s Billie Schwacha invented a cutting method using ultra-high-pressure water capable of cutting harder materials. A pump of 100,000 psi was used to spout liquid jet at hypersonic speed.

At this speed, the liquid was capable of even cutting through PH15-7-MO stainless steel. Union Carbide’s Philip Rice conducted a research using water jet at 50,000 psi in 1962. In the same decade, S.J. Leach and G.L. Walker conducted a research that expanded from a method of cutting coal with water jet in order to find out the ideal shape of a nozzle to use in cutting stone with high-pressure water jet. In the late 190s, Norman Franz used water jet cutting to process soft materials in which he dissolved the waters long-chained polymers in order for the jet stream to be more cohesive.

In early 1970s, Joseph Corriveau, Michael Kurko, and Ray Chadwick (of Bendix Corporation) invented water jet nozzle that were more durable using corundum crystal. Norman Franz then improved the link alternatif sbobet design with a nozzle the size of 0.002 inches which is capable of taking on jet stream of 70,000 psi. Louis Kapcsandy, George Hurlburt, and John Olsen of Flow Research came up with the idea that treatment for the water prior to use could prolong the operational life of the nozzle.