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VSRD-MAP, Vol. 2 (7), 2012, 249-262

____________________________
1,3
Lecturer,
2
Professor,
1,2,3
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Yeshwantrao Chavan College of Engineering, Nagpur,
Maharashtra, INDIA. *Correspondence : pdk121180@yahoo.com


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Use of Magneto Abrasive Flow Machining to
Increase Material Removal Rate and Surface Finish
1
P.D. Kamble*,
2
S.P. Untawale and
3
S.B. Sahare
ABSTRACT
The recent increase in the use of hard, high strength and temperature resistant materials in engineering
necessitated the development of newer machining techniques. Conventional machining or finishing methods are
not readily applicable to the materials like carbides; ceramics .Conventional machining processes when applied
to these newer materials are uneconomical, Produce poor degree of surface finish and accuracy, Produce some
stress, highly insufficient. Newer machining processes may be classified on the basis of nature of energy
employed. Abrasive flow machining (AFM) is relatively new process among non-conventional machining
processes. Low material removal rate happens to be one serious limitation of almost all processes. Magneto
abrasive flow machining is a new development in AFM. With the use of magnetic field around the work piece in
abrasive flow machining, we can increase the material removal rate as well as the surface finish. A set up has
been developed for a composite process termed magneto abrasive flow machining (MAMF).The effect of
parameters on the performance of the process has been studied. Experimental result indicates significantly
improved performance of MAMF over AMF.
Keywords : Magneto Abrasive Flow Machining(MAFM), Material Removal Rate, Surface Finish
1. INTRODUCTION
Magneto abrasive flow machining (MAFM) is a new technique in machining. The orbital flow machining
process has been recently claimed to be another improvement over AFM, which performs three-dimensional
machining of complex components. These processes can be classified as hybrid machining processes (HMP)a
recent concept in the advancement of non-conventional machining. The reasons for developing a hybrid
machining process is to make use of combined or mutually enhanced advantages and to avoid or reduce some of
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the adverse effects the constituent processes produce when they are individually applied. In almost all non-
conventional machining processes such as electric discharge machining, electrochemical machining, laser beam
machining, etc., low material removal rate is considered a general problem and attempts are continuing to
develop techniques to overcome it. The present paper reports the preliminary results of an on-going research
project being conducted with the aim of exploring techniques for improving material removal (MR) in AFM.
One such technique studied uses a magnetic field around the work piece. Magnetic fields have been successfully
exploited in the past, such as machining force in magnetic abrasive finishing (MAF), used for micro machining
and finishing of components, particularly circular tubes. The process under investigation is the combination of
AFM and MAF, and is given the name Magneto Abrasive Flow Machining (MAFM).
2. PROBLEM DEFINITION
Magneto Abrasive flow machining (MAFM) is one of the latest non-conventional machining processes, which
possesses excellent capabilities for finish-machining of inaccessible regions of a component. It has been
successfully employed for deburring, radiusing, and removing recast layers of precision components. High
levels of surface finish and sufficiently close tolerances have been achieved for a wide range of components .In
MAFM, a semi-solid medium consisting of a polymer-based carrier and abrasives in a typical proportion is
extruded under pressure through or across the surfaces to be machined. The medium acts as a deformable
grinding tool whenever it is subjected to any restriction. A special fixture is generally required to create
restrictive passage or to direct the medium to the desired locations in the work piece.
3. AIM AND SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES
This report discusses the possible improvement in surface roughness and material removal rate by applying a
magnetic field around the work piece in AFM. A set-up has been developed for a composite process termed
magneto abrasive flow machining (MAFM), and the effect of key parameters on the performance of the process
has been studied. Relationships are developed between the material removal rate and the percentage
improvement in surface roughness of brass components when finish-machined by this process.
4. OVERVIEW
AFM was developed in 1960s as a method to deburr, machining. This provides improvement in surface
roughness and material removal rate, polish intricate geometries. The process has found applications in a wide
range of fields such as aerospace, defence, and surgical and tool manufacturing industries. Extrusion pressure,
flow volume, grit size, number of cycles, media, and work piece configuration are the principal machining
parameters that control the surface finish characteristics. Recently there has been a trend to create hybrid
processes by merging the AFF process with other non-conventional processes. This has opened up new vistas
for finishing difficult to machine materials with complicated shapes which would have been otherwise
impossible.
These processes are emerging as major technological infrastructure for precision, meso, micro, and nano scale
engineering. This review provides an insight into the fundamental and applied research in the area and creates a
better understanding of this finishing process, with the objective of helping in the selection of optimum
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machining parameters for the finishing of varied work pieces in practice.MAFM is a new non-conventional
machining technique .It produces surface finishes ranging from rough to extremely fine. Here chips are formed
by small cutting edges on abrasive particles.The use of magnetic field around the work piece. It deflects the path
of abrasive flow. Here Microchipping of the surface is done. The various limitations of Abrasive Flow
Machining are overcome like:
1. Low finishing rate.
2. Low MRR.
3. Bad surface texture.
4. Uneconomical.
5. NON-TRADITIONAL MACHINING
In present world of competition, product quality is main requirement of the customer. It is impossible to get
required degree of accuracy and quality with conventional methods of machining. So it is required to move
towards the application of non-traditional methods. The newer machining processes, so developed, are often
called modern machining process or unconventional machining process. These are unconventional in the sense
that the conventional tools are not employed for material removal. The energy in its direct or indirect form is
utilized. Some of the non-traditional processes are:
1. Electro Chemical Machining (ECM)
2. Electro Discharge Machining (EDM)
3. Ion Beam Machining (IBM)
4. Laser Beam Machining (LBM)
5. Plasma Arc Machining (PAM)
6. Ultrasonic Machining (USM)
7. Magnetic Abrasive Flow Machining (MAFM), etc.
These non-traditional methods cannot replace the conventional machining processes and a particular method,
found suitable under the given conditions, may not be equally efficient under other conditions. A careful
selection of the process for a given machining conditions is therefore essential. Furthermore, the machining
process has to safely remove the material from work piece without inducing new sub-surface damages, the
machining of work piece by means of magneto abrasive flow machining (MAFM) could be such a process.
Unlike traditional grinding, lapping or honing processes with fixed tools, MAFM applies no such rigid tool with
important advantage of subjecting the work piece to substantially lower stresses.
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6. EXPERIMENTAL SET-UP
6.1. MAFM set - up
An experimental set-up is designed and fabricated, it is shown in fig: 6.1. It consisted of two cylinders (1)
containing the medium along with oval flanges (2). The flanges facilitate clamping of the fixture (3) that
contains the work piece (4) and index the set-up through 180 when required. Two eye bolts (5) also support this
purpose. The setup is integrated to a hydraulic press (6). The flow rate and pressure acting on piston of the press
were made adjustable. The flow rate of the medium was varied by changing the speed of the press drive whereas
the pressure acting on the medium is controlled by an auxiliary hydraulic cylinder (7), which provides additional
resistance to the medium flowing through the work piece. The resistance provided by this cylinder is adjustable
and can be set to any desired value with the help of a modular relief valve (8).
The piston (9) of the hydraulic press then imparts pressure to the medium according to the passage size and
resistance provided by opening of the valve. As the pressure provided by the piston of the press exceeds the
resistance offered by the valve, the medium starts flowing at constant pressure through the passage in the work
piece. The upward movement of the piston (i.e. stroke length) is controlled with the help of a limit switch. At
the end of the stroke the lower cylinder completely transfers the medium through the work piece to the upper
cylinder.
The position of the two cylinders is interchanged by giving rotation to the assembly through 180 and the next
stroke is started. Two strokes make up one cycle. A digital counter is used to count the number of cycles.
Temperature indicators for medium and hydraulic oil are also attached.
6.2. The Fixture
The work fixture was made of nylon, a non-magnetic material. It was specially designed to accommodate
electromagnet poles such that the maximum magnetic pull occurs near the inner surface of the work piece.
6.3. The Electromagnet
The electromagnet was designed and fabricated for its location around the cylindrical work piece. It consists of
two poles that are surrounded by coils arranged in such a manner as to provide the maximum magnetic field
near the entire internal surface of the work piece.
6.4. The Abrasive Medium
The medium used for this study consists of a silicon based polymer, hydrocarbon gel and the abrasive grains.
The abrasive required for this experimentation has essentially to be magnetic in nature. In this study, an abrasive
called Brown Super Emery (trade name), supplied by an Indian company, was used. It contains 40%
ferromagnetic constituents, 45% Al
2
O
3
and 15% Si
2
O
3
.
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Fig. 5.1: The Work piece

Fig. 5.2: Schematic Illustration of the Magneto Abrasive Flow Machining
(1.Cylinder containing medium, 2. Flange, 3.Nylon fixture, 4.Workpiece, 5.Eye bolt, 6.Hydraulic press,
7.Auxiliary cylinder, 8.Modular relief valve, 9.Piston of Hydraulic press, 10.Directional control valve,
11.Manifold blocks).

Fig. 5.3: Typical Machining Centre
7. PROCESS PARAMETERS
Following process parameters were hypothesised to influence the performance of MAFM:
1. Flow rate (volume) of the medium,
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2. Magnetic flux density,
3. Number of cycles,
4. Extrusion pressure,
5. Viscosity of the medium,
6. Grain size and concentration of the abrasive,
7. Work piece material,
8. Flow volume of the medium, and
9. Reduction ratio.
Table 5.1: Levels of Independent Parameters.

7.1. Design of Experiments
With the help of experimental design, the effect of process variables on the output of the process and their
interaction effects have been determined within a specified range of parameters. It is possible to represent
independent process parameters in quantitative form as:
Y f(X1, X2, X3 Xn) e, where Y is the response (yield), f is the response function; e is the experimental
error, and X1, X2, X3 Xn are independent parameters. The mathematical form of f can be approximated by a
polynomial. The dependent variable is viewed as a surface to which the mathematical model is fitted. Twenty
experiments were conducted at stipulated conditions based upon response surface methodology (RSM).
A central component rotatable design for three parameters was employed. The magnetic flux density, medium
flow rate and number of cycles were selected as independent variables. The reason for choosing these variables
for the model was that they could be easily varied up to five levels. MR and percentage improvement in surface
roughness value (Rs) were taken as the response parameters. Cylindrical work pieces made of brass were
chosen as the experimental specimen. An electronic balance (Metler, LC 0.1 mg) and a perthometer (Mahr, M2)
were employed for the measurements of MR and surface roughness, respectively.
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The roughness was measured in the direction of flow of the medium. The experimental specimens were chosen
from a large set of specimens in such a way that selected specimens had inherent variation in their initial surface
roughness values in a narrow range. It was not possible to remove this variability completely; therefore
percentage improvement in surface roughness (Rs) has been taken as the response parameter. The roughness
values were taken by averaging the readings at several points on the surface.
8. PRINCIPLE
The volume of abrasive particles is carried by the abrasive fluid flow through the work piece. Abrasives are
impinged on the work piece with a specified pressure which is provided by the piston and cylinder arrangement
or with the help of an intensifier pump. The pressure energy of the fluid is converted into kinetic energy of the
fluid in order to get high velocity. When a strong magnetic field is applied around the work piece, the flowing
abrasive particles (which must essentially be magnetic in nature) experience a sideways pull that causes a
deflection in their path of movement to get them to impinge on to the work surface with a small angle, thereby
resulting in microchipping of the surface. The magnetic field is also expected to affect the abrasive distribution
pattern at the machining surface of the work piece. The particles that otherwise would have passed without
striking the surface now change their path and take an active part in the abrasion process, thus causing an
enhancement in material removal. It is to be mentioned here that although the mechanical pull generated by the
magnetic field is small, it is sufficient to deflect the abrasive particles, which are already moving at considerable
speed. Therefore it appears that, by virtue of the application of the magnetic field, more abrasive particles strike
the surface. Simultaneously, some of them impinge on the surface at small angles, resulting in an increased
amount of cutting wear and thereby giving rise to an overall enhancement of material removal rate.

Fig. 6.1: (a) Off-State MR Fluid Particles (b) Aligning in an Applied Magnetic Field

Fig. 6.2 : Principle of Material Removal Mechanism
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9. ABRASIVE MEDIUM
The mainly used abrasive media is a Silicon based polymer, hydrocarbon gel and the abrasive grains. The
abrasive required is essentially magnetic in nature for the proper machining process to take place. An abrasive
called Brown Super Emery (trade name), supplied by an Indian company is normally used. It contains 40%
ferromagnetic constituents, 45% Al
2
O
3
and 15% Si
2
O
3
. SiC with silicon gel is also used as an abrasive media.
Also diamond coated magnetic abrasives can be used to finish ceramic bars.

Fig. 7.1: Mechanism of Magneto Abrasive Flow Machining
10. MAFM MACHINES
MAFM Machines are classified into 3, namely : (1) One-Way Machines (2) Two-Way Machines (3) Orbital
Machines.
10.1. One-way machines
One way MAFM process apparatus is provided with a hydraulically actuated reciprocating piston and an
extrusion medium chamber adapted to receive and extrude medium unidirectionally across the internal surfaces
of a work piece having internal passages formed therein. Fixture directs the flow of the medium from the
extrusion medium chamber into the internal passages of the work piece, while a medium collector collects the
medium as it extrudes out from the internal passages. The extrusion medium chamber is provided with an access
port to periodically receive medium from the collector into extrusion chamber.
The hydraulically actuated piston intermittently withdraws from its extruding position to open the extrusion
medium chamber access port to collect the medium in the extrusion medium chamber. When the extrusion
medium chamber is charged with the working medium, the operation is resumed.

Fig. 8.1: Unidirectional MAFM Process
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10.2. Two-Way Machines
Two-way machine has two hydraulic cylinders and two medium cylinders. The medium is extruded,
hydraulically or mechanically, from the filled chamber to the empty chamber via the restricted passageway
through or past the work piece surface to be abraded. Typically, the medium is extruded back and forth between
the chambers for the desired fixed number of cycles. Counter bores, recessed areas and even blind cavities can
be finished by using restrictors or mandrels to direct the medium flow along the surfaces to be finished.


Fig. 8.2: Twoway MAFM Process
10.3. Orbital Machines
In orbital MAFM, the work piece is precisely oscillated in two or three dimensions within a slow flowing pad
of compliant elastic/plastic MAFM medium. In orbital MAFM, surface and edge finishing are achieved by
rapid, low-amplitude, oscillations of the work piece relative to a self-forming elastic plastic abrasive polishing
tool. The tool is a pad or layer of abrasive-laden elastic plastic medium, but typically higher in viscosity and
more in elastic.
Orbital MAFM concept is to provide transitional motion to the work piece. When work piece with complex
geometry translates, it compressively displaces and tangentially slides across the compressed elastic plastic self-
formed pad which is positioned on the surface of a displacer which is roughly a mirror image of the work piece,
plus or minus a gap accommodating the layer of medium and a clearance. A small orbital oscillation (0.5-5 mm)
circular eccentric planar oscillation is applied to the work piece so that, at any point in its oscillation, a portion
of its surface bumps into the medium pad, elastically compresses (5 to 20%) and slides across the medium as the
work piece moves along its orbital oscillation path. As the circular eccentric oscillation continues, different
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portions of the work piece slide across the medium. Ultimately, the full circular oscillation engages each portion
of the surface. To assure uniformity, the highly elastic abrasive medium must be somewhat plastic in order to be
self-forming and to be continually presenting fresh medium to the polishing gap.

Fig. 8.3: Orbital MAFM Process (a) Before start of finishing (b) While Finishing
11. ULTRA-HIGH PRESSURE PUMPS
High pressure pumps are an alternative to create pressure. The intensifier pump creates pressures high enough
for machining. An engine or electric motor is used which drives a hydraulic pump. Pressures from 1,000 to
4,000 psi (6,900 to 27,600 kPa) are achieved which is given into the intensifier cylinder. Hydraulic fluid pushes
a large piston to generate a high force. The plunger pressurizes fluid to a level proportional to the relative cross-
sectional areas of the large piston and the small plunger.

Fig. 9.1: An Ultra-High Pressure Pump
12. MECHANISM OF MATERIAL REMOVAL
Solid particle erosion proposed by Finnie is considered as the basic mechanism of material removal in MAFM
with some modifications. In abrasive jet machining the energy of the striking abrasive particle is imparted by the
high speed of the medium stream, but in MAFM the required energy to the abrasive particles is provided by
high pressure acting on the viscoelastic carrier medium. The medium dilates and the abrasive particles come
under a high level of strain due to the pressure acting in the restriction. The momentum that abrasive particles
acquire due to these conditions can be considered to be responsible for micro ploughing and microchipping of
the surface in contact with the abrasive. Micro ploughing causes plastic deformation on the surface of the
metal. Initially no material removal takes place. However, the surface atoms become more vulnerable to
removal by subsequent abrasive grains. More abrasive particles attack the surface repeatedly, which causes the
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detachment of material often referred to as cutting wear. When a strong magnetic field is applied around the
work piece, the flowing abrasive particles (which must essentially be magnetic in nature) experience a sideways
pull that causes a deflection in their path of movement to get them to impinge on to the work surface with a
small angle, thereby resulting in microchipping of the surface. The magnetic field is also expected to affect the
abrasive distribution pattern at the machining surface of the work piece. The particles that otherwise would have
passed without striking the surface now change their path and take an active part in the abrasion process, thus
causing an enhancement in material removal. It is to be mentioned here that although the mechanical pull
generated by the magnetic field is small, it is sufficient to deflect the abrasive particles, which are already
moving at considerable speed. Therefore it appears that, by virtue of the application of the magnetic field, more
abrasive particles strike the surface. Simultaneously, some of them impinge on the surface at small angles,
resulting in an increased amount of cutting wear and thereby giving rise to an overall enhancement of material
removal rate.

Graph 10.1: Effect of Magnetic Flux Density and Medium Flow Rate on MMR

Graph 10.2: Effect of Number of Cycles and Magnetic Flux Density on MRR

Graph 10.3: Effect of Medium Flow Rate and Number of Cycles on MRR
13. RECENT DEVELOPMENTS
Besides Singh and Shan who applied magnetic field around the work piece in A. F. Mand observed that
magnetic field significantly affect the material removal and change in surface roughness. Ravi Sankar et.al.
Tried to improve the finishing rate, material removal and surface texture by placing drill bit in the medium flow
path called Drill Bit Guided AFM. The inner part of medium slug flows along the helical flute which creates
random motion among the abrasive in inner region of the medium. This causes reshuffling of abrasive particles
at outer region. Hence, comparatively more number of new and fresh abrasive grains interacts with the work
piece surface. Also abrasive traverse path is longer than the AFM abrasive traverse path in each cycle. It results
in higher finishing rate in DBG-AFM as compared to AFM. Material removal rate is found to decrease with
decrease in drill bit diameter.
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Biing-Hwa Yanet.al., placed spiral fluted screw in the medium flowing path to improve surface quality. He
rotated different shaped tiny rods at the centre of the medium flow path and used a low viscosity medium to
finish. He concluded that the better surface finish is achieved due to centrifugal action caused by the rod on the
abrasives and this process is called Centrifugal Force Assisted Abrasive Flow Machining (CFAAFM).
Table 11.1Comparison between AFM and MAFM
AFM MAFM
1. Surface irregularities such as scratch,
bumps, out of roundness cannot be corrected.
2.Machined depth increases by
a) Increase in particle size.
b) Smaller working clearance.

3.Surface finish improved by
a) Higher relative speed.
b) Smaller working clearance.
Surface finish-0.05-1.0 m


4. More number of cycles is required for high
material removal rate.
5.material removal-0.008-0.010mm
6. Medium flow rate is only factor
Which yields material removal rate but
surface roughness is high as compare to
MAFM.
1. Surface irregularities such as scratch, bumps,
out of roundness can be corrected easily.
2.Machined depth increases by
a)Increase in magnetic flux density
b) Increase in particle size.
c) Smaller working clearance.
3.Surface finish improved by
a) Increase in flux density.
b) Increase in finishing time.
c) Higher relative speed.
d) Smaller working clearance.
Surface finish- 3.0-5.0 m.
4. Less number of cycles is required for high
material removal rate.
5. Material removal-0.020-0.030mm.
6. Magnetic field and medium flow rate interact
with each other and combination leads to high
material removal rate and small surface
roughness.
14. ADVANTAGES
(1) A very high volume of internal deburring is possible. (2) MAFM deburrs precision gears. (3) MAFM
polishes internal and external features of various components. (4) MAFM removes recast layer from
components. (5) Effective on all metallic materials. (6) Controllability, repeatability and cost effectiveness.
(7) Less Time Consumption.
15. LIMITATIONS
(1) Abrasive materials tend to get embedded, if the work material is ductile. (2) Require closed environment.
(3) Require start up hole. (4) Mostly Magnetic materials
16. APPLICATIONS
16.1. Automotives
The demand for this process is increasing among car and two wheeler manufacturers as it is capable to make the
surfaces smoother for improved air flow and better performance of high-speed automotive engines. MAFM
process is capable to finish automotive and medical parts, and turbine engine components. Internal passages
within a turbine engine diffuser are polished to increase air flow to the combustion chamber of the engine. The
rough, power robbing cast surfaces are improved from 80-90% regardless of surface complexities.
16.2. Dies and Moulds
Since in the MAFM process, abrading medium conforms to the passage geometry, complex shapes can be
finished with ease. Dies are ideal work pieces for the MAFM process as they provide the restriction for medium
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flow, typically eliminating fixturing requirements. The uniformity of stock removal by MAFM permits accurate
sizing of undersized precision die passages.
The original 2 micron Rs (EDM Finish) is improved to 0.2 micron with a stock removal of (EDM recast layer)
0.025 mm per surface. Laser Shops with materials as titanium, and steel (Thicker metal or composites).
Prototype, R&D, Maintenance and Repair Shops. Controls Just-in-Time inventory requirements. Metal
Fabricators: Offer "clean edge" plate work. Aerospace engine and control system components

Fig. 11.1: Surface Finish Improvement Before And After On (a) Internal Passages Within Turbine
Engine Diffuser (b) Medical Implants (c) Complete Automotive Engine Parts

Fig. 11.2: Photomicrograph Showing Complete Removal of EDM Recastlayer

Fig. 11.3: Microchiped Surface of a Metal
17. CONCLUSION
A magnetic field has been applied around a component being processed by abrasive flow machining and an
enhanced rate of material removal has been achieved. Empirical modelling with the help of response surface has
led to the following conclusions about the variation of response parameters in terms of independent parameters
within the specified range.
1. Magnetic field significantly affects both MRR and surface roughness. The slope of the curve indicates
that MRR increases with magnetic field more than does surface roughness. Therefore, more
improvement in MRR is expected at still higher values of magnetic field.
2. For a given number of cycles, there is a discernible improvement in MRR and surface roughness.
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Fewer cycles are required for removing the same amount of material from the component, if processed
in the magnetic field.
3. Magnetic field and medium flow rate interact with each other .The combination of low flow rates and
high magnetic flux density yields more MRR and smaller surface roughness.
4. Medium flow rates do not have a significant effect on MRR and surface roughness in the presence of a
magnetic field.
5. MRR and surface roughness both level off after a certain number of cycles.
MAFM is a well-established advanced finishing process capable of meeting the diverse finishing requirements
from various sectors of applications like aerospace, medical and automobile. It is commonly applied to finish
complex shapes for better surface roughness values and tight tolerances. But the major disadvantage of this
process is low finishing rate. The better performance is achieved if the process is monitored online. So, acoustic
emission technique is tried to monitor the surface finish and material removal .Various modelling techniques are
also used to model the process and to correlate with experimental results. But experts believe that there is still
room for a lot of improvements in the present MAFM status.
18. FUTURE SCOPE
Initial cost of the machine is high; one can modify the machine by applying new techniques.
19. REFERENCES
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machine tools and manufacture, Issue number 42 (2002), 953-959.
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th
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[5] R.E Williams, Stochastic modeling and analysis of abrasive flow machining, Journal of Engineering for
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International Journal of machine tool & manufacture, Issue number 44 (2004), 1019-1029.
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