Forces/Stresses on Meat Slicer

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In summary, the engineering student talks about the different forces and stresses present when slicing meat with a cylindrical piece of salami. They discuss polar coordinates, shear stress, and how the meat "fails" when it can't withstand the stresses.
  • #1
I'm an engineering student with a part-time job at a deli (and a seasonal job in construction, but that's besides the point). To entertain my coworkers, I talk about the different forces/stresses present when slicing the meat.

So for the sake of accuracy, let's say I have a cylindrical piece of salami. The slicer blade applies what is basically a concentrated normal force (a force spread out over the (width)x(contact length) of the blade with the meat)

The shear stress would be the amount of force exerted by the blade, divided by the contact area (Force increases as the blade cuts deeper into the meat, right? So stress is constant, but force increases)

To generate that amount of force, the machine needs a certain amount of torque applied to it, which is equal to the cutting force times the radius of the blade. (Or in other words, the force is equal to the torque divided by the radius of the blade)

So would you use polar coordinates to break down the vertical and horizontal components of the force? (The horizontal component being what actually cuts the meat?)

And when the meat is cut, the thing that causes it to "fail" is the amount of shear stress it can withstand, right? (Or is it that, combined with the normal stress applied to the meat?).
  • #3
This is an interesting problem, but it is difficult to answer because you have not described what type of blade you are using.
You use the term “slice” but then refer to “(width)x(contact length) of the blade with the meat”, ignoring the slice / push ratio.

To cut with a knife you can;
1. Simply push a knife edge down through material.
2. Slide the knife while pushing down. That has a slice / push ratio.
3. Rotate a disc with a sharpened edge, (slice), while (push)ing the material against it.
4. Rotate a disc, blunt edge, but with a sharp radial cutter and slot on it's face.

Do you have a picture, link, or better description of the slicing machine and cutter ?
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Likes jim mcnamara

1. What are the main forces/stresses that act on a meat slicer?

The main forces/stresses that act on a meat slicer include the force of gravity, which pulls the meat towards the cutting blade, and the force of the motor, which powers the rotation of the blade. Additionally, there may be forces from the pressure of the meat against the blade, and the force of the blade cutting through the meat.

2. How does the design of a meat slicer affect the forces/stresses it experiences?

The design of a meat slicer can greatly impact the forces/stresses it experiences. A sturdy and well-built slicer will be able to withstand higher forces without breaking or malfunctioning. Additionally, the angle and sharpness of the blade can affect the force needed to cut through the meat, which can in turn impact the stress on the slicer.

3. What safety measures should be taken to reduce forces/stresses on a meat slicer?

To reduce forces/stresses on a meat slicer, it is important to follow safety precautions such as properly securing the slicer to a stable surface, using the appropriate blade for the type of meat being sliced, and ensuring the meat is evenly distributed on the slicer. It is also important to regularly maintain and clean the slicer to prevent build-up and potential malfunctions.

4. How does the type of meat being sliced affect the forces/stresses on a meat slicer?

The type of meat being sliced can have a significant impact on the forces/stresses experienced by a meat slicer. Tougher and thicker cuts of meat will require more force to cut through, which can put more stress on the slicer. Additionally, the moisture and fat content of the meat can affect the friction on the blade, also impacting the forces on the slicer.

5. How can proper maintenance and usage prolong the lifespan of a meat slicer?

Proper maintenance and usage are crucial in prolonging the lifespan of a meat slicer. Regularly cleaning and lubricating the slicer will reduce friction and wear on the parts. Using the slicer as intended, avoiding overloading or forcing it to cut through tough or frozen meats, can also help prevent excessive forces and stresses that can cause damage over time.

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