Micro electrical discharge machining of reaction-bonded silicon carbide

Liew, Pay Jun (2013) Micro electrical discharge machining of reaction-bonded silicon carbide. PhD thesis, UTeM.

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Functional micro-structures are gaining more and more importance in the industrial technologies during the last few years. For example, deep micro holes find a wide range of applications in inkjet printer nozzles, spinnerets holes, turbine blades cooling channels, diesel fuel injection nozzles, drug delivery orifices, etc. Another important example is microlens arrays. The ability of microlens arrays to focus incident light into a series of beam spots makes them useful as important optical elements that are widely used in the area of optoelectronic and optical communications. Due to the wide applications of these functional micro-structures in optical, biomedical engineering and microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), micro fabrication techniques have gained growing interest from researchers and engineers. Recently, the use of reaction-bonded silicon carbide (RB-SiC) as a material in manufacturing optical molding dies for aspherical lenses and microlens arrays has become a new research focus, due to its superior material properties, such as high hardness and strength at elevated temperature, high thermal conductivity, chemical stability, wear resistance and low density. However, due to its high hardness (Vickers hardness 25-35 GPa), it is typically difficult to be machined. Although abrasive machining processes, such as lapping, polishing and grinding can produce a fine surface finish, but the machining efficiency is low and the production cost is high. Diamond cutting is able to produce a high material removal rate, but the severe tool wear in diamond cutting of RB-SiC is the main obstacle that limits its wide application in the industry. Compared to the aforementioned methods, micro electrical discharge machining (micro-EDM) has emerged as a possibly effective machining tool to fabricate complex micro-structures on hard and difficult-to-cut materials like RB-SiC. However, the use of conventional micro-EDM alone to obtain micro-structures with good surface finish and high form accuracy in RB-SiC, is still a challenging issue. The high resistivity of the RB-SiC workpiece is the main limiting factor for the discharge current of micro-EDM, which directly affects the machining efficiency of RB-SiC. The main objective of this study is to develop hybrid machining processes based on micro-EDM for improving the machinability and surface finish of RB-SiC. Carbon nanofibers assisted micro-EDM was proposed to replace the conventional micro-EDM. The effects of carbon nanofibers addition in the dielectric fluid were confirmed experimentally. The machining mechanism and the material migration phenomenon with the addition of carbon nanofibers were investigated and clarified. Next, a novel machining process, namely hybrid micro-EDM process by combining ultrasonic cavitation and carbon nanofibers was proposed, in order to improve the machining efficiency of RB-SiC ceramic material and to prevent from tool material deposition on workpiece. The effectiveness of the hybrid process was verified through the fabrication of micro-structures on RB-SiC. This thesis consists of five chapters. Chapter 1 gives an overview of the background of this research. Firstly, an introduction of the RB-SiC ceramic material, including the fabrication process, material properties, applications and previous machining processes of RB-SiC material were given. EDM was chosen as a method to fabricate micro-structures on the RB-SiC, which can overcome the shortcomings of the abrasive machining process. Then, an overview of the principle of micro-EDM/EDM process was discussed. The problem of machining RB-SiC by using conventional EDM was also pointed out. Some recent developments for enhancing the machinability of hard and brittle ceramic materials by micro-EDM/EDM were reviewed. Finally the objectives and organization of this thesis were stated.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Electric engineering, Composite materials, Silicon
Subjects: T Technology > TK Electrical engineering. Electronics Nuclear engineering
Divisions: Library > Tesis > FKP
Depositing User: Salleh Mohd Nor
Date Deposited: 10 Sep 2015 04:40
Last Modified: 10 Sep 2015 04:40
URI: http://eprints.utem.edu.my/id/eprint/14955
Statistic Details: View Download Statistic

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