Compliant polishing (e.g. bonnet polishing) is widely used to finish freeform surfaces. However, direct pad/surface contact often causes scratches or embedding of abrasives, especially on metal moulds. Here, the use of non-Newtonian fluid (polymer and starch) to enable contactless polishing without need for a polishing pad is reported. Modelling and analysis are conducted to reveal the influence of fluid rheology on the material removal mechanism. Using #6000 grit alumina, Gaussian shaped removal footprints can be obtained, with a completely scratch-free roughness of 3.9 nm Ra on Nickel, in contrast with 70.3 nm Ra obtained by general water based bonnet polishing.
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