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Micro-EDM milling of electrically nonconducting zirconia ceramics

: Schubert, Andreas; Zeidler, Henning; Hahn, M.; Hackert-Oschätzchen, Matthias; Schneider, Jörg


Katholieke Universiteit, Leuven; International Academy for Production Engineering -CIRP-, Paris:
17th CIRP Conference on Electro Physical and Chemical Machining, ISEM 2013 : 9 - 12 April 2013, Leuven
Amsterdam: Elsevier, 2013 (Procedia CIRP 6.2013)
Conference on Electro Physical and Chemical Machining <17, 2013, Leuven>
Conference Paper, Journal Article
Fraunhofer IWU ()
micro-EDM; ceramic; zirconia; EDM milling

Micro-EDM is a well-known process for precision micro machining of difficult to cut materials. It is especially beneficial when machining complex micro structures such as deep bores, grooves or undercuts in highly wear resistant materials. One constraint is its limitation to electrically conductive materials.
Advanced materials such as high-temperature resistant engineered ceramics are gaining more and more importance, nonetheless due to their manifold applications in transport, energy and also biomedical areas.
An adaption of micro-EDM to nonconducting ceramics could bring together the design freedom implemented in the EDM process and the beneficial material properties of engineered ceramics.
In the last years, research has successfully applied the assisting electrode method to zirconia material, allowing for the micro-EDM to proceed notwithstanding the electrically nonconducting properties. Using suitable dielectric and process parameters, the machining continues even after the electrically conducting starting layer has been removed. Within this study the micro-EDM milling of zirconia is investigated in order to further understand the mechanisms of ceramics machining. Roughness and surface characteristics are analyzed and compared to the equivalent metal parts.
The voltage and current signals are recorded using high speed deep memory A/D converters to allow for an insight into the process. With the findings the process can be improved in terms of speed, accuracy and achievable structures.