Geometric improvement of electrochemical discharge micro-drilling using an ultrasonic-vibrated electrolyte

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Electrochemical discharge machining (ECDM) is a spark-based micromachining method especially suitable for the fabrication of various microstructures on nonconductive materials, such as glass and some engineering ceramics. However, since the spark discharge frequency is drastically reduced as the machining depth increases ECDM microhole drilling has confronted difficulty in achieving uniform geometry for machined holes. One of the primary reasons for this is the difficulty of sustaining an adequate electrolyte flow in the narrow gap between the tool and the workpiece, which results in a widened taper at the hole entrance, as well as a significant reduction of the machining depth. In this paper, ultrasonic electrolyte vibration was used to enhance the machining depth of the ECDM drilling process by assuring an adequate electrolyte flow, thus helping to maintain consistent spark generation. Moreover, the stability of the gas film formation, as well as the surface quality of the hole entrance, was improved with the aid of a side-insulated electrode and a pulse-power generator. The side-insulated electrode prevented stray electrolysis and concentrated the spark discharge at the tool tip, while the pulse voltage reduced thermal damage to the workpiece surface by introducing a periodic pulse-off time. Microholes were fabricated in order to investigate the effects of ultrasonic assistance on the overcut and machining depth of the holes. The experimental results demonstrated that the possibility of consistent spark generation and the machinability of microholes were simultaneously enhanced.

Original languageEnglish
Article number065004
JournalJournal of Micromechanics and Microengineering
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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