Antibacterial coating of Ti-6Al-4V surfaces using silver nano-powder mixed electrical discharge machining
Previous studies have revealed the potential of powder mixed electrical discharge machining (PMEDM) with regards to concurrently machining part geometry and coating an antibacterial layer on medical devices. This study is aimed at further demonstrating this potential. In order to do so, the PMEDM process was varied by adding different concentrations of silver nano-particles into the dielectric fluid and used to machine Ti-6Al-4V. Afterwards, the resulting machined and coated surfaces were characterized with regards to surface integrity, the coating layer's thickness, microhardness and chemical elements as well as antibacterial property. Material removal rate, tool wear and pulse signals were also analysed in order to give an insight on process feasibility. From both qualitative and quantitative results, it could be established that the surfaces machined and coated by PMEDM method have demonstrated a significant reduction of not only the amount of S. aureus bacteria, but also the number of bacterial clusters on the coating layer's surface. Moreover, the coating layer's silver content, which depends on the powder concentration suspended in the dielectric fluid, plays a vital role in the antibacterial property. As compared to surfaces without silver, surfaces containing approximately 3.78% silver content showed a significant decrease in both bacterial numbers and clusters, whereas a further increase in silver content did not result in a considerable bacterial number and cluster reduction. Regarding the machining performance, as compared to EDM without powder, machining time is remarkably decreased by using the PMEDM method.