The versatility of water jet machines make them ideal for cutting a wide range of materials, rubbers, plastics, composites and even pre-hardened materials. Abrasive water jet cutting is a cost-effective shape cutting method for materials requiring no heat affected zone, no edge damage, no slag, no burnt edges, and no change to the material chemical or mechanical properties. These characteristics are perfect for cross-sectional cutting of parts and raw materials.

As a non-contact process, tolerances can be challenging to consistently maintain, but when cross-sectional waterjet cutting, the goal is less about tolerances and more about desired end result. As we know, the waterjet industry recognizes five standard cut qualities (controlled by speed) Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4, and Q5. To achieve the desired end result for cross-sectional cutting, all cut qualities may be used.

Thermal cutting methods such as torch, plasma, laser as well as mechanical processes like shear, machining, and saw cutting can be used for cross-sectional cutting, however tearing, cutting, and melting can cause mechanical properties of material to change as a direct result.

As an alternative, abrasive waterjet cutting is well suited for metallurgical evaluation preparation and cross-section analysis. Mechanical properties of the material will not change and no stress will be introduced unlike the heat generating processes discussed previously. The following cross-sectional metallurgical scenarios typify microscopic comparisons between UHP waterjet machining and other thermal and conventional machining processes.