Unit – 4 Gear Generation & Non-Traditional Machining Processes

Manufacturing of Gears
Basic purpose of Gears Gears are widely used in various mechanisms and devices to transmit power and motion positively (without slip) between parallel, intersecting (axis) or non-intersecting non parallel shafts, 1 • without change in the direction of rotation 2 • with change in the direction of rotation 3 • without change of speed (of rotation) 4 • with change in speed at any desired ratio Often some gearing system (rack – and – pinion) is also used to transform rotary motion into linear motion and vice-versa

Features of Spur gear General Applications Of Gears Gears of various type, size and material are widely used in several machines and systems requiring positive and stepped drive. The major applications are:

• Speed gear box, feed gear box and some other kinematic units of machine tools • Speed drives in textile, jute and similar machineries • Gear boxes of automobiles • Speed and / or feed drives of several metal forming machines

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5 • Machineries for mining, tea processing etc.

6 • Large and heavy duty gear boxes used in cement industries, sugar industries, cranes, conveyors etc. 7 • Precision equipments, clocks and watches 8 • Industrial robots and toys. Types Of Gears And Their Characteristics Gears are broadly classified

(a) According to configuration 1 • External gear 2 • Internal gear

Configuration of external and internal gears 1


(b) According to axes of transmission

• Spur gears – transmitting rotation between parallel shafts 1 o Straight toothed 2 o Helical toothed
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⎯ Single helical ⎯ double helical (herringbone)

Compared to straight toothed gears, helical toothed gears run more smoothly and can transmit larger torque. Double helical gears are of large size and used for heavy torque transmission. • Bevel gears – transmitting motion between intersecting shafts (axes) 1 o Straight toothed 2 o Helical toothed
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⎯ Spiral bevel gear ⎯ Hypoid gear

Helical toothed bevel gears are used for smoother and larger torque transmission.

• Gears transmitting motion and power between non-parallel nonintersecting shafts

o Worm and worm wheel

6 o Spiral gears 7 o Skewed or hypoid bevel gears Worm and worm wheel are generally used for speed reduction but are irreversible i.e., rotation can be transmitted only from the worm to the worm wheel unless the helix angle is tool large.

Spiral gears are used when torque or power to be transmitted is insignificant

Gears transmitting power between non-parallel non intersecting shafts. (a) worm and worm wheel, (b) hypoid gear and (c) spiral gears. (C) According to pattern of motion 1 • Rotation to rotation : - wheel type gears 2 • Rotation to translation or vice versa – e.g. rack and pinion 0 o Straight toothed 1 o Helical toothed

Gearing systems transforming (a) rotation to rotation and (b) rotation to translation

Production of Gear Teeth by Machining

The preformed blanks of approximate shape and irregular surface

are machined to desired dimensions and finish and then the teeth are produced generally by machining

Full gears with teeth are made by different processes and then Accurate gears in finished form are directly produced by near –

finished by further machining and / or grinding

net – shape process like rolling, plastic moulding, powder metallurgy etc. requiring slight or no further finishing. The most commonly practiced method is preforming the blank by casting, forging etc. followed by pre-machining to prepare the gear blank to desired dimensions and then production of the teeth by machining and further finishing by grinding if necessary. Gear teeth are produced by machining based on

Forming – where the profile of the teeth are obtained as the replica of the form of the cutting tool (edge); e.g., milling, broaching etc.
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Generation – where the complicated tooth profile are provided by much simpler form cutting tool (edges) through rolling type,

6 tool – work motions, e.g., hobbing, gear shaping etc. 1

Methods of production of gear teeth by machining on Forming principle Shaping, planing and slotting Teeth of straight toothed spur gear can be produced in shaping machine. Both productivity and product quality are very low in this process which therefore, is used, if at all, for making one or few teeth on one or two pieces of gears as and when required for repair and maintenance purpose. In principle planning and slotting machines work on the same principle. Planing machine is used, if required at all, for making teeth of large gears whereas slotting, generally, for internal gears

Gear teeth cutting in ordinary shaping machine.

Milling Gear teeth can be produced by both disc and end mill type form milling cutter a) Production of gear teeth by form milling are characterized by: 1 2 3
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• use of HSS form milling cutters • use of ordinary milling machines • low production rate for ⎯ need of indexing after machining each tooth gap ⎯ slow speed and feed • low accuracy and surface finish • inventory problem – due to need of a set of eight cutters for • End mill type cutters are used for teeth of large gears

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each module – pressure angle combination.


b) Production of gear teeth by machining on Generation principle Generation method is characterized by automatic indexing and ability of a single cutter to cover the entire range of number of teeth for a given combination of module and pressure angle and hence provides high productivity and economy. By using rack type cutter Rack type HSS cutter (having rake and clearance angles) reciprocates to accomplish the machining (cutting) action The favourable and essential applications of this method (and machine) include :

• moderate size straight and helical toothed external spur gears

with high accuracy and finish


• cutting the teeth of double helical or herringbone gears with a • cutting teeth of straight or helical fluted cluster gears

central recess (groove) 3 However this method needs, though automatic, few indexing operations.

External gear teeth generation by rack type cutter

Gear shaping In principle, gear shaping is similar to the rack type cutting process, excepting that, the linear type rack cutter is replaced by a circular cutter, where both the cutter and the blank rotate as a pair of spur gears in addition to the reciprocation of the cutter. Generation method is characterized by automatic indexing and ability of a single cutter to cover the entire range of number of teeth for a

given combination of module and pressure angle and hence provides high productivity and economy. The gear type cutter is made of HSS and possesses proper rake and clearance angles. The additional advantages of gear shaping over rack type cutting are :

• separate indexing is not required at all • straight or helical teeth of both external and internal spur gears • Productivity is also higher.


can be produced with high accuracy and finish

Gear teeth generation by gear shaping (a) external and (b) internal spur gear

Hobbing The tool-work configuration and motions in hobbing contains the HSS or carbide cutter having teeth like gear milling cutter and the gear blank apparently interact like a pair of worm and worm wheel. The hob (cutter) looks and behaves like a single or multiple start worm. Hobbing provides lesser accuracy and finish and is used only for cutting straight or helical teeth (single) of external spur gears and worm wheels.

Generation of external gear teeth by Hobbing : (a) straight tooth (b) helical tooth and (c) worm wheel

Finishing of Gear Teeth For smooth running, good performance and long service life, the gears need 1 2 3 • to be accurate in dimensions and forms • to have high surface finish and • to be hard and wear resistive at their tooth flanks

which are achieved by some gear teeth finishing work after near accurate preforming and machining. Gears produced to near-net-shape by die casting, powder metallurgy, extrusion, blanking etc. need little finishing. But machined and hardened gear teeth are essentially finished for accuracy and surface finish. Common methods of gear teeth finishing Gear teeth, after preforming and machining, are finished generally by the following methods;

a) for soft and unhardened gears 1

• gear shaving • gear rolling or burnishing b) for hard and hardened gears • grinding • lapping c) for soft but precision gears • shaving followed by surface hardening and then lapping

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Gear shaving The teeth of straight or helical toothed external spur gears and worm wheels of moderate size and made of soft materials like aluminium alloy, brass, bronze, cast iron etc. and unhardened steels are mostly finished by shaving process. All those gear, rack or worm type shaving cutters are of hard steel or HSS and their teeth are uniformly serrated to generate sharp cutting edges. While interacting with the gears, the cutting teeth of the shaving cutter keep on smoothening the mating gear flanks by fine machining to high accuracy and surface finish. For such minute cutting action, the shaving teeth need an actual or apparent movement relative to the mating teeth along their length.

Gear shaving cutters of (a) spur gear type (b) rack and (c) worm type

Cutting teeth of gear shaving (a) cutter and its (b) action

Gear rolling or burnishing In this method the machined gear is rolled under pressure with three hardened master gears of high accuracy and finish. The minute irregularities of the machined gear teeth are smeared off by cold plastic flow, which also helps in improving the surface integrity of the desired teeth. Gear teeth grinding Grinding is a very accurate method and is, though relatively expensive, more widely used for finishing teeth of different type and size of gears of hard material or hardened surfaces. The properly formed and dressed wheel finishes the gear teeth flanks by fine machining or abrading action of the fine abrasives. Like gear milling, gear grinding is also done on two principles 1 2 Forming Generation, which is more productive and accurate

Gear teeth grinding on forming principle This is very similar to machining gear teeth by a single disc type form milling cutter where the grinding wheel is dressed to the form that is exactly required on the gear. Need of indexing makes the process slow and less accurate.

The wheel or dressing has to be changed with change in module, pressure angle and even number of teeth. Form grinding may be used for finishing straight or single helical spur gears, straight toothed bevel gears as well as worm and worm wheels.

Gear teeth finishing by form grinding Gear teeth grinding on generation principle The simplest and most widely used method is very similar to spur gear teeth generation by one or multi-toothed rack cutter. The single or multi-ribbed rotating grinding wheel is reciprocated along the gear teeth as shown. Other tool – work motions remain same as in gear teeth generation by rack type cutter For finishing large gear teeth a pair of thin dish type grinding wheels are used.

Gear teeth grinding on generation principle. Gear teeth finishing by lapping The lapping process only corrects minute deviations from the desired gear tooth profiles. The gear to be finished after machining and heat treatment and even after grinding is run in mesh with a gear shaped lapping tool or another mating gear of cast iron. An abrasive lapping compound is used in between them. The gear tooth contact substantially improves by such lapping.

Electric Discharge Machine (EDM): Introduction: EDM is an electro-thermal machining process, where electrical energy is used to generate electrical spark and material removal mainly occurs due to thermal energy of the spark Used to machine difficult-to-machine materials and high strength, temperature resistant alloys Used to machine difficult geometries in small batches Process: Thermoelectric process: Heat energy of a spark is used to remove material from the w/p w/p & tool made of electrically conductive materials Spark is produced between two electrodes & its location is determined by the narrowest gap between them. Duration of each spark is very short Entire cycle time is usually few micro-seconds Frequency of sparking may be as high as thousands of sparks per second Area over which a spark is effective is very small Temperature of the area under the spark is very high Spark energy is capable of partly melting and partly vaporizing material from localized area on both the electrodes

Material is removed in the form of craters, spread over the entire surface of the work piece Cavity produced in the work piece is the replica of the tool. To have machined cavity as replica of the tool, tool wear should be zero To minimize tool wear, operating parameters and polarity should be selected carefully Particles eroded from the electrodes are known as debris Debris: mixture of irregular shaped particles (resulting from resolidification from the molten state) and hollow spherical particles (resulting from vapour condensation) Amount of material eroded from the tool surface is much smaller than w/p surface Very small gap between the two electrodes is to be maintained to have the spark to occur Tool is driven by the servo system which continuously move towards the work piece Principle of metal removal: During machining, pulsed DC of 80 – 100 V at approximately 5 kHz is passed thru the electrodes Results in an intense electrical field at the location where surface irregularity provides the narrowest gap

Negatively charged particles (electrons) break loose from the cathode surface and move towards the anode surface under the influences of electric field forces During this movement, the electrons collide with neutral molecules of the dielectric Electrons are also detached from these neutral molecules of the dielectric resulting in still more ionization Ionization becomes so intense and a very narrow channel (plasma channel) of continuous conductivity is established In this channel, there is a continuous flow of considerable number of electrons towards the anode and that of ions towards the cathode Their K.E. is converted into heat energy Heating of anode due to the bombardment of electrons and heating of cathode due to the bombardment of ions take place Thus it ends up in a momentary current impulse resulting in a discharge which may be an arc or a spark Spark energy raises the localized temperature of the tool and w/p to such a huge value that it result either in melting / melting & vaporization of a small amount of material from the surface of both electrodes at the point of spark contact Amount of material eroded from the w/p and the tool will depend upon the contributions (in the form of K.E.) of electrons and ions.

As the potential difference is withdrawn, the plasma channel is no longer sustained As the plasma channel collapse, it generates pressure or shock waves which evacuates the molten material forming a crater of removed material around the site of the spark

Schematic representation of crater formation Material removal in EDM mainly occurs due to formation of shock waves as the plasma channel collapse owing to discontinuation of applied potential difference Generator is used to apply voltage pulses between the tool and job (constant voltage is not applied). Polarity normally used is straight (tool is negative and w/p is positive) EDM equipment consists of: • Dielectric reservoir, pump and circulation system • Power generator and control unit • Working tank with work holding devices • X-Y table accommodating the working table

• Tool holder • Servo system to feed the tool

Process Parameters:
• • • • • •

open circuit voltage – Vo working voltage – Vw maximum current – Io pulse on time – duration for which the voltage is applied – ton pulse off time – toff gap between the work piece and tool – spark gap – δ

• polarity – straight polarity – tool (-ve) • dielectric medium • external flushing through the spark gap

Characteristics of EDM EDM can be employed for machining any electrically conductive material irrespective of its hardness and other physical, mechanical & metallurgical properties Material removal depends on mainly thermal properties of the work material Can perform different kind of operations, viz drilling, slotting multiple hole drilling, profile cutting etc High degree of repeatability and high accuracy (± 0.025 to ± 0.127 mm) and tolerances upto ± 2.5 μm Taper ranges from 0.005 to 0.050 mm/cm depending upon the values of machining parameters Aspect ratio of 100:1 can be achieved during drilling of holes Volumetric material removal rate (MRR) is quite low (0.1 to 10 mm3/min-A) Microscopic study of the machined components reveals three kind of layers, viz recast layer, HAZ and converted layer Recast layer: If the molten material from the w/p is not flushed out quickly, it will resolidify and harden due to the cooling effect of dielectric fluid and gets adhered to the machined surface. This thin layer of about 2.5 to 50 μm is called as recast layer

HAZ: layer next to recast layer, approx 25 μm thick. Heating, cooling and diffused material are responsible for the presence of this zone Converted layer: It is identified as an outer layer to the HAZ and is characterized by a change in grain structure from the original structure Surface finish achieved in EDM is around 0.8 to 3.1 μm Rapid heating and cooling and local high temperature leads to surface hardening which may be desirable in some applications Dielectric system: Consists of dielectric fluid, reservoir, filters, pumps and delivery devices Dielectric fluid should possess certain properties, viz, it should; • have high dielectric strength (i.e. remain electrically nonconductive until the required breakdown voltage between the electrodes is achieved) • take minimum possible time to breakdown (i.e. ignition delay time) once the breakdown voltage is reached (dielectric should ionize when electrons collide with its molecule) • deionize the gap immediately after the spark has occurred • serve as an effective cooling medium • have high degree of fluidity

Fluids commonly used: transformer oil, paraffin oil, kerosene and deionized water (Tap water cannot be used as it ionizes too early and thus breakdown due to the presence of salts / impurities) Effective flushing of dielectric removes debris from the gap and increase the MRR Various methods of flushing: suction thru electrode, pressure through electrode, jet flushing & rotating electrode flushing Electrode material: Material should be such that it would not undergo much tool wear when it is impinged by positive ions Material should posses desirable properties like easily machinable, low wear rate, good conductor of electricity and heat Tool should be easily workable as intricate shaped geometric features are machined in EDM Basic characteristics of electrode materials are: • High electrical conductivity • High thermal conductivity – for the same heat load, the local temperature rise would be less due to faster heat conducted to the bulk of the tool and thus less tool wear

• Higher density – for the same heat load and same tool wear by weight there would be less volume removal or tool wear and thus less dimensional loss or inaccuracy • High melting point – high melting point leads to less tool wear due to less tool material melting for the same heat load • Easy machinability Common electrode materials: Graphite, Electrolytic oxygen free copper, Tellurium copper – 99% Cu + 0.5% tellurium and Brass Power generator • Resistance-capacitance type (RC type) relaxation generator • Rotary impulse type generator • Electronic pulse generator • Hybrid EDM generator Applications of EDM: • Manufacturing of hardened steel dies for forming process • Manufacturing of aerospace, automobile and machine tool components • Making through cavities and miniature holes

• Making components for plastic injection molding machine • Making dies for molding, casting, forging, stamping, coining, extruding, wire drawing etc. • Employed for tiny holes, orifices (50 μm) and fragile features (micro sized slots) • Matte finish obtained during EDM minimizes polishing time • Common application is removal of broken taps, drills, studs, reamers, pins etc.

Machining can be done on heat treated materials, tougher material such as carbides.

• Used to produce shapes which are extremely difficult to make otherwise, viz squares, ‘D’ holes, splines, narrow slots and grooves, blended features etc. • Can be employed to machine thin and fragile components without any damage to the components.

Electrochemical Machining Introduction A controlled anodic dissolution at atomic level of the w/p that is electrically conductive by a shaped tool due to flow of high current at

relatively low potential difference through an electrolyte which is quite often water based neutral salt solution Process

Reactions occur at the electrodes i.e. at the anode / work piece and at the cathode / tool in the presence of electrolyte Ex. Machining of low carbon steel, neutral salt solution NaCl (Electrolyte) Electrolyte and water undergoes ionic dissociation as the potential difference is applied NaCl ↔ Na+ + ClH2O ↔ H+ + (OH)As the potential difference is applied between the w/p (anode) and the tool (cathode), the positive ions move towards the tool and negative ions move towards the work piece

Hydrogen ions will take away electrons from the tool (cathode) and form hydrogen gas

2H+ + 2e- = H2↑ at cathode Similarly the iron atoms will come out of the work piece (anode) Fe = Fe++ + 2eWithin the electrolyte iron ions would combine with chloride ions to form iron chloride and similarly sodium ions would combine with hydroxyl ions to form sodium hydroxide Na+ + OH- = NaOH In practice FeCl2 and Fe(OH)2 would form and get precipitated in the form of sludge In this manner w/p gets gradually machined and gets precipitated as sludge

As the material removal takes place due to atomic level dissociation, the machined surface is of excellent quality and stress free ECM Machine Tool Power supply: The electrochemical machining system consists of • • • Power supply Electrolyte filtration and delivery system Tool feed system

Schematic of a ECM drilling unit Power supply: The electrochemical machining system consists of • • Power supply Electrolyte filtration and delivery system

Tool feed system

Work piece & work holding system High Direct current of 40,000 A and a low electric potential in the range of 5 – 25 V across the IEG is desirable Highest current density achieved is around 20,000 A/cm2 Electrolyte filtration and delivery system: Consists of pump, filters, pipings, control valves, heating or cooling coils, pressure gauges and a storage tank. Supply ports may be made in the tool, work of fixture Small IEG (< 1mm) to be maintained for achieving high MRR and high accuracy Smooth flow of electrolyte should be maintained Electrolyte cleanliness is imperative and filters are made of stainless steel, monel or any other anti-corrosive material Piping system is made of S.S., GFRP, plastic lined mild steel or any other anti-corrosive materials. Required minimum capacity of electrolyte tank is about 500 gallons for each 10,000 A of current Tool and Tool Feed system:

Use of anti-corrosive material for tools and fixtures is important because of longer machining time in the corrosive environment of electrolyte High thermal conductivity & high electrical conductivity of tool material are important Aluminum, brass, bronze, copper, tungsten, titanium, S.S and monel are the common tool material Use of non-corrosive and electrically non-conducting materials is preferred for making fixtures Work piece and work holding system: Only electrically conductive work materials can be machined Chemical properties of anode (work) material largely govern the MRR. Work holding devices are made of electrically non-conductive materials having good thermal stability and low moisture absorption Graphite fibres-reinforced plastics, plastics are used for fabricating work holding devices. ECM Process Parameters: 1) Power supply Type Voltage : Direct current : 2 to 35 V

Current Current density 2) Electrolyte

: 50 to 40,000 A : 0.1 A/mm2 to 5 A/mm2

Sodium chloride for alloyed/unalloyed steel (moderate MRR), Sodium chlorate for steel (High MRR), Sodium Nitrite for copper alloys (lowmedium MRR), Sulphuric acid for Ni, Cr, Co alloys and Sodium hydrate for tungsten and Molybdenum. Temperature Flow rate Pressure Dilution 3) Working gap 4) Over cut 5) Feed rate 6) Electrode material 7) Surface roughness, Ra : 20 – 50 deg. C : 20 lpm per 100 A current : 0.5 to 20 bar : 100 g/l to 500 g/l : 0.1 mm to 2 mm : 0.2 mm to 3 mm : 0.5 mm/min to 15 mm/min : Copper, brass, bronze : 0.2 to 1.5 μm

Advantages: Can machine highly complicated and curved shapes in a single pass

Single tool can be used to machine a large number of pieces without any loss in its shape and size Tool life in ECM is very high Machined surfaces are stress free and burr free having good surface finish (0.1 to 1.0 μm) Limitations: Used only for electrically conductive materials Cannot produce sharp corners & edges Machining of materials containing hard spots, inclusions etc are difficult Accuracy of machined components depend on such factors like tool design, degree of the process control and complexity of shape produced. Applications ECM is used for • • • Die sinking Profiling & Contouring, Trepanning, Grinding, Drilling Micro-machining

MRR in ECM Governed by Faraday’s law of electrolysis Amount of chemical change produced by current (ie) the amount of any substance deposited or dissolved is proportional to the quantity of electricity that is passed through the electrolyte Amount of metal from an electrode removed by the flow of same quantity of electricity (eg) one faraday of electricity will liberate one gram equivalent weight of the metal W = EIt / F, where W is the mass of ions dissolved in Kg E – Equivalent weight of substance dissolved or deposited I – Current in amps t – Time in sec F – Faraday constant (26.8 amp – hr.) MRR = W / Aρt A is machined area in m2, ρ density of work piece MRR = EIt / FAρt = EI / FAρ = EI / Fρ m3/s for a unit square area Accuracy in ECM depends on • • •

machining voltage feed rate of electrode (tool) temperature of electrolyte concentration of electrolyte

Laser Beam Machining Introduction Laser: Light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation Working principle of laser was put forward by Albert Einstein in 1917 First industrial laser for experimentation was developed around 1960’s Laser beam can very easily be focused using optical lenses as their wavelength ranges from half micron to around 70 microns. Focused laser beam can have power density of around 1 MW/mm2. As laser interacts with the material, the energy of coherent photons / laser beam (a unit of light) is mostly converted into thermal energy Thermal energy is absorbed by the work material leading to rapid substantial rise in local temperature resulting in melting and vaporization of the work material.

Energy band in materials

Lasing Process Describes the basic operation of laser i.e. generation of coherent beam of light by “light amplification” using “stimulated emission” Einstein hypothesized that under appropriate conditions, light energy of a particular frequency can be used to stimulate the electrons in an atom to emit additional light with exactly same characteristics as the original stimulating light source An atom, initially in any of the excited states does not remain forever in that state (or energy level) Einstein proposed that when an atom at ‘q’ energy level has light of right frequency acting on it, it absorbs photons of that light and the transition takes place from lower energy level ‘q’ to higher energy level ‘p’ Phenomenon of the movement of an atom to the higher energy level is called absorption Transition of an atom from the higher energy level ‘p’ back to the lower energy level ‘q’ is known as emission. Emission could be two kinds: Spontaneous emission (independent of light intensity) and stimulated emission (influenced by the intensity of light)

Spontaneous & Stimulated Emission Let an atom be brought to high energy level (say, E3) by an outside energy source (heat, light, chemical, etc.) Now, if it is allowed to decay back to its ground state energy level (E0), a photon is released

If this photon comes in contact with another atom at high energy level (E3), then this atom will also decay back to ground state releasing another photon. This chain of events would produce photons having same characteristics (wave length, direction and energy) Triggering of clone photons from stimulated atoms is known as stimulated emission. Stimulated emission forms the basis of laser operation. In a material, if more number of atoms are at their higher energy level as compared to the number of atoms at lower energy level, then it is called as “population inversion” Refers to the population of atoms in the lasing material. Feedback mechanism is an essential element of the laser producing system It captures and redirects a part of the coherent photons back into the active medium These photons further stimulate the emission of some more photons of the same frequency and phase Also permits a small % of coherent photons to exit the system in the form of laser light which is utilized for manufacturing processes

Working of LASER A cylindrical glass vessel contains the gas (lasing medium) One end of the glass is blocked with a 100% reflective mirror and the other end is having a partially reflective mirror

Lasing Action Population inversion can be carried out by exciting the gas atoms by pumping it with flash lamps Stimulated emission would initiate lasing action and emission of photons could be in all directions. Most of the stimulated photons which are not along the longitudinal direction would be lost and generate waste heat Photons in the longitudinal direction would form coherent, highly directional, intense laser beam.

Lasing medium Many materials can be used as the heart of the laser Depending on the lasing medium, lasers are classified as solid state and gas laser Solid – state lasers are • • • Ruby which is a chromium – alumina alloy having a wavelength of 0.7 μm Nd-glass lasers having a wavelength of 1.64 μm Nd-YAG laser having a wavelength of 1.06 μm

Gas lasers are • •

Helium – Neon Argon CO2

Lasers can be operated in continuous mode or pulsed mode Typically CO2 gas laser is operated in continuous mode and NdYAG laser is operated in pulsed mode.

Laser Construction:

Solid state laser with pumping unit

Working of a solid state laser

Solid state (Nd-YAG) laser is pumped using flash tube Flash tubes may be helical / flat Lasing material is at the focal plane of the flash tube Electrical circuit for operation of a solid state laser shows the flash tube being operated in pulsed mode by charging and discharging of the capacitor Pulse on time is decided by the resistance on the flash tube side and pulse off time is decided by the charging resistance A high voltage switching supply is provided for initiation of pulses.

Construction of a gas laser

Gas lasers can be axial flow, transverse flow and folded axial flow Power of a CO2 laser is typically around 100 Watt per metre of tube length To make a high power laser, long tube is required which is quite inconvenient For optimal use of floor space, high-powered CO2 lasers are made of folded design In a CO2 laser, a mixture of CO2, N2 and He continuously circulate through the gas tube Continuous recirculation of gas is done to minimize consumption of gases. CO2 acts as the main lasing medium whereas Nitrogen helps in sustaining the gas plasma Helium helps in cooling the gases

Working of a gas laser

Construction of a folded gas laser High voltage is applied at the two ends leading to discharge and formation of gas plasma Energy of this discharge leads to population inversion and lasing action One end of the laser tube is 100% reflector and the other end is partial reflector 100% reflector redirects the photons inside the gas tube and partial reflector allows a part of the laser beam to be released, which is used for material processing CO2 lasers may be folded to achieve high power

In a folded axial flow laser there would be a few 100% reflective turning mirrors for manoeuvring the laser beam from gas supply as well as high voltage supply LBM – Applications Laser beam energy has been favorably employed for cutting difficult – to – machine materials such as hardened steels, composites, ceramics etc. Laser beam energy has been utilized for operations like drilling, cutting, micromachining, trepanning, trimming, marking, welding, soldering, brazing etc. Micro-holes (cooling holes) of diameter < 1mm can be made on super alloy materials (for components such as turbine blades, guide vanes, casing etc.) Drilling miniature holes in diamond dies for wire drawing, in sapphire and ruby, bearings for watches Large sized holes (> 1.2 mm diameter) can not be drilled, rather they can be trepanned Trepanning is performed either by moving the laser beam or the work piece according to the type of the profile of the hole Non circular holes can be better machined by CNC contour cutting

Three-dimensional laser beam machining process, utilizing two laser beams, for operations like threading, turning, grooving etc can be employed During 3-D cutting, two independent lasers are simultaneously used to cut two grooves which are moving closer to each other When these two grooves converge, a volume is cut off without being melted / vaporized LBM – Advantages In LBM, there is no physical tool, no machining force, no wear of tool Aspect ratio (depth to diameter ratio) of 100:1 can be achieved with acceptable dimensional accuracy Micro holes can be drilled in difficult – to – machine materials HAZ in pulsed laser processing is not very significant due to shorter pulse duration LBM – Limitations High initial cost High maintenance cost Not very efficient process Presence of HAZ in Gas assisted CO2 laser cutting Thermal process – not suitable for heat sensitive materials like aluminum glass fiber laminate

Abrasive Jet Machining (AJM) Introduction Abrasive particles are made to impinge on the work material at a high velocity (200 – 400 m/s) High velocity stream of abrasive is generated by converting the pressure of the carrier gas or air to its kinetic energy Material removal takes place through chipping / erosive action This erosive action has been employed for cutting, cleaning, etching, polishing and deburring Effective on hard / brittle materials (glass, tungsten, ceramics etc.) and not so effective on soft materials like aluminum, rubber etc. Nozzle directs the abrasive jet in a controlled manner onto the work material Distance between the nozzle & w/p and the impingement angle can be set desirably Abrasive particles of around 50 μm grit size would impinge on the work material at velocity of 200 m/s from a nozzle of I.D of 0.5 mm with a stand off distance of around 2 mm.

Schematic of AJM process

AJM setup AJM Equipment Gas Propulsion system: Air is compressed in an air compressor and compressed air at a pressure of around 5 bar is used as the carrier gas. CO2 and N2 can also be used as carrier gas, taken directly from gas cylinders Carrier gas is passed through a pressure regulator to obtain the desired working pressure Passed through an air drier to remove any residual water vapor To remove any oil vapor or particulate contaminant the same is passed through a series of filters Gas enters a closed chamber (mixing chamber)

Abrasive feeder: Required quantity of abrasive particles is supplied by abrasive feeder Abrasive particles enter the chamber from the hopper through a metallic sieve Sieve is constantly vibrated by an electromagnetic shaker Mass flow rate of abrasive (15 gm/min) entering the chamber depends on the amplitude of vibration of the sieve and its frequency Abrasive particles are then carried by the carrier gas to the machining chamber through an electro-magnetic on-off valve Machining Chamber: Machining chamber is essential to contain the abrasive and machined particles in a safe and eco-friendly manner. Chamber is equipped with a vacuum dust collector AJM nozzle: Machining is carried out as high velocity (200 m/s) abrasive particles are released from the nozzle onto the w/p Nozzle is usually made of tungsten carbide or sapphire which has high resistance to wear Made of either circular or rectangular cross-section

Nozzle pressure is maintained between 2 – 8.5 bar, which depends on the material of w/p and desired characteristics of the machined surface Abrasives: Aluminum oxide (Al2O3), Silicon carbide (SiC), Glass beads, crushed glass, and sodium bicarbonate Selection of abrasives depends upon the type of work material, material removal rate and machining accuracy desired. Al2O3 is good for cleaning, cutting and deburring on soft materials SiC is used for cleaning, cutting and deburring on hard materials For obtaining matte finish, glass beads are good while crushed glass performs better for giving sharper edges Small abrasive particles are used for cleaning and polishing while large particles perform better during cutting Abrasives should have sharp and irregular shape and be fine enough to remain suspended in the carrier gas Re-use of the abrasives is not recommended because of two reasons: abrasives get contaminated with metallic chips which may block the nozzle passage Cutting ability of the used abrasive particles is reduced due to wear

Process Parameters • Abrasive Material: Al2O3 / SiC / Glass beads Shape: irregular / spherical Size: 10 – 50 μm Mass flow rate: 2 – 20 gm / min • Carrier gas Composition: Air, CO2, N2 Density: Air – 1.3 kg / m3 Velocity: 500 – 700 m/s Pressure: 2 – 10 bar Flow rate: 5 – 30 lpm • Abrasive Jet Velocity: 100 – 300 m/s Mixing ratio: mass flow ratio of abrasive to gas: Mabr / Mgas Stand off distance: 0.5 – 5 mm Impingement angle: 60 – 90 deg. • Nozzle Material: WC / Sapphire Diameter: (Internal) 0.2 – 0.8 mm Life: 10 – 300 hrs

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