Electrical discharge machining
An electrical discharge machine
Electric discharge machining
), sometimes colloquially also referred to as
is a manufacturing processwhereby a wanted shape of an object, called workpiece, is obtained using electrical discharges(sparks). The material removal from the workpiece occurs by a series of rapidly recurring currentdischarges between two electrodes, separated by adielectric liquidand subject to an electric
voltage.One of the electrodes is called tool-electrode and is sometimes simply referred to as‘tool’ or ‘electrode’, whereas the other is called workpiece-electrode, commonly abbreviated in‘workpiece’. When the distance between the two electrodes is reduced, the intensity of theelectric field in the volume between the electrodes is expected to become larger than the strengthof the dielectric (at least in some point(s)) and therefore the dielectric breaks allowing somecurrent to flow between the two electrodes. This phenomenon is the same as the breakdown of acapacitor (condenser)(see also breakdown voltage). A collateral effect of this passage of current
is that material is removed from both the electrodes. Once the current flow stops (or it is stopped- depending on the type of generator), new liquid dielectric should be conveyed into the inter-electrode volume enabling the removed electrode material solid particles (debris) to be carriedaway and the insulating proprieties of the dielectric to be restored. This addition of new liquiddielectric in the inter-electrode volume is commonly referred to as flushing. Also, after a currentflow, a difference of potentialbetween the two electrodes is restored as it was before the
breakdown, so that a new liquid dielectric breakdown can occur.