After briefly reviewing previous work in this field, the authors propose that rupture of the chip work contact (to give a discontinuous chip) is governed by a limiting shear strain energy condition. Assuming that shear stress and strain at rupture are dependent on the compressive normal stress, a criterion for the direction of the rupture plane is deduced. Using some results given by Field and Merchant, the authors then compare their calculated direction of rupture with that experimentally observed. Some indication that the agreement is not entirely fortuitous is afforded by checking the calculated shear strain energy at fracture with that calculated from force and chip measurements.

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