Two miniature, high sensitivity force transducers were employed to measure the thrust force along the in-feed direction and the cutting force along the cross-feed direction in a nanomachining instrument. The instrument was developed for conducting fundamental experiments of nanocutting especially on brittle materials. The force transducers of piezoelectric quartz type can measure machining forces ranging from 0.2 mN to 10 N. The submillinewton resolution makes it possible to measure the machining forces in the cutting experiments with depths of cut as small as the nanometer level. The stiffness and resonant frequency of the force transducers are 400 mN/nm and 300 kHz, respectively, which meet the specification of the instrument. A force transducer assembly is designed to provide a mechanism to adjust the preload on the force transducer and to decouple the measurement of forces. The assembly consists of three dual-axis circular flexures and a subframe. The axial stiffness of the flexures is designed to be greater than 6×107 N/m and the lateral stiffness of the flexures is designed to be 1×106 N/m to provide proper decoupling of forces.
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