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Chapter Chemical Machining

Chapter Chemical Machining

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Published by: Magenthran Kuppusamy on Dec 13, 2011
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 What????

o is a process in which material removed through contact with a strong chemical etchant (typically acids or alkalies).
 How???

o The metal is dissolved atom by atom and converted into a soluble compound over the entire exposed surface.
 Why???

o used to manufacture metal components to close/high accuracy.
 Where???

o widely used in the electronics and aerospace industries including integrated circuit lead frames, surface mount paste screens, optical attenuators, encoder disks, jewelry and meshes/filters.

• Organic acids first used for corrosive purposes in 400 B.C. • 15th Century: salt, charcoal, and vinegar as etchants, linseed oil paint as maskant • Used extensively in armor • 18th and 19th century discoveries propelled chemical milling.

TYPES OF CHM  Types of Chemical Machining  Photo-Chemical Machining (PCM)  Immersion Machining (IM)  Electro-Chemical Machining (ECM) .


.CLEANING  The purpose of cleaning is to ensure that the material will be removed uniformly from the surfaces to be etched.

polyethylene. polyvinylchloride.  Materials: neoprene.  Made from material that is chemically resistant to the etchant.MASKING  A protective coating called a maskant is applied to certain portions of the part surface. and other polymers  Masking accomplished by any of three methods: Cut and peel Photographic resist Screen resist .

The selected maskant material should have following properties:  Tough enough to withstand handling  Well adhering to the workpiece surface  Easy scribing  Inert to the chemical reagent used  Able to withstand the heat used during chemical machining  Easy and inexpensive removal after chemical machining etching . Polymer or rubber based materials are generally used for masking procedure.MASKANT Masking material which is called maskant is used to protect workpiece surface from chemical etchant.

 Convert the work material into a salt that dissolves in the etchant and thereby removed the surfaces.ETCHING  The part is immersed in an etchant which chemically attacks those portions of the part surfaces that are not masked.  Factors in selection of etchant: • Work material • Depth and rate of material removal • Surface finish requirements  Etchant must also be matched with the type of maskant to insure that maskant material is not chemically attacked .

Various etchant are available due to workpiece material. High dissolved-material capacity Economic regeneration Etched material recovery Easy control of process Personal safety maintenance . The best possible etchant should have properties as follow:High etch rate Good surface finish Minimum undercut Compatibility with commonly used maskants.ETCHANT Etchants are the most influential factor in the chemical machining of any material.

DEMASKING  The maskant is removed from the part. and (5) remove maskant and clean to yield finished part. (2) apply maskant. . (3) scribe. (4) etch.  Sequence of processing steps in chemical milling: (1) clean raw part. cut. and peel the maskant from areas to be etched.


PHOTO CHEMICAL MACHINING (PCM)  Mainly used for sheets or plates  Computer-generated picture used to produce phototool  Part covered with photoresist and tool. exposed to UV light  Part exposed to etchant chemical  Photoresist removed .

PCM • Advantages  Low cost tooling  Tooling such as computer not limited to one part  Used on a variety of materials  No burrs created  No residual stress introduced • Disadvantages  Cannot create very thin parts  Emphasizes surface defects  Uses hazardous chemicals .

CHM (IMMERSION)  Similar to PCM  Maskant attached to areas not desired to be machined  Entire part immersed in etchant chemical  Can be repeated until correct part created .

ELECTRO-CHEMICAL MACHINING (ECM)  Uses electrolysis  Work piece positively charged. removed by solution . tool (inverse of desired shape) negatively charged  Current passed between the two electrodes  Surface metal ionizes.

 The plating action deposits material from the positive pole (anode) to the negative pole (cathode) Principle of electrolysis . invented by Michel Faraday (1833).ECM  ECM is a process that relies on the principle of electrolysis for material removal. a plating action result (electroplating).  When a direct current (DC) power supply is applied to two electrically conductive materials that are submerged in an electrolyte.

ECM  ECM is a reverse application     of electroplating process. This deplating action in a controlled manner to produce complex shapes in diffult-tomachine alloys. Introduced by Gusseff (1929). . & development in the 1950s. A high-current. low-voltage DC power supply is connected between an electrically conductive tool and workpiece. A deplating action between a conductive workpiece and a shaped tool produces a predictable erosion of the workpiece.

.  A conductive electrolyte flows through a small gap that is maintained between the tool and the workpiece in a reverse image of the tool.ECM  The shaped tool is connected to the negative polarity and the workpiece is connected to the positive.  During this time. the electrolyte flows through the gap at a high velocity removing the deplated workpiece material before it has a change to plate onto the tool.

THE PROCESS PARAMETER OF ECM  The chemical reactions depend on the combination of workpiece material and the type of electrolyte.  Example: When iron is machined with a sodium chloride electrolyte. the resulting chemical reaction is: 2Fe + 4H2O + O2 = 2Fe (OH)3 +H2 .

 If too low.  The tool may also be connected to a CNC machine to produce even more complex shapes with a single tool.  If too high will cause cavitation. .THE PROCESS PARAMETER OF ECM  Electrolyte flow velocity ~ 15 – 60 m/sec. also promoting uneven material removal.  Electrolyte pressure and temperature are importance to maintain electrical conductivity and repeatability. the heat and by-products of the reaction (hydrogen gas + sludge) build in the gap causing nonuniform material removal.

Overcut 0.2 to 1.Surface roughness.Feed rate 0. Ra 0.1 mm to 2 mm 4.5 to 20 bar Dilution 100 g/l to 500 g/l 3. bronze 7.Power Supply • • • • Type direct current Voltage 2 to 35 V Current 50 to 40. Electrolyte • • • • • Material NaCl and NaNO3 Temperature 20OC – 500C Flow rate 20 lpm per 100 A current Pressure 0. brass.5 mm/min to 15 mm/min 6.000 A Current density 0.Electrode material Copper.5 μm .EXAMPLE PROCESS PARAMETER 1.Working gap 0.1 A/mm2 to 5 A/mm2 2.2 mm to 3 mm 5.

 The two most common products of ECM are turbine/compressor blades and rifle barrels.  Sinking operations (ECM) are also used as an alternative to EDM.  It is also used to make cavities and holes in various products.  It is commonly used on thin walled. easily deformable and brittle material because they would probably develop cracks with conventional machining.ECM APPLICATION  The most common application of ECM is in high accuracy duplication. Each of those parts require machining of extremely hard metals with certain mechanical specifications that would be really difficult to perform on conventional machines. .

grinding and sawing  Most of the metal removal is done by the electrolyte. resulting in very low tool wear .ELECTROCHEMICAL GRINDING  Uses a rotating cathode embedded with abrasive particles for applications comparable to milling.

Fairly good tolerance can be obtained. • Can machine harder metals than the tool.ADVANTAGES OF ECM • • • • ECM is simple. • Very accurate. . Surface finish can be extremely good. • There is no heat affected zone. There is no cutting forces therefore clamping is not required except for controlled motion of the work piece. fast and versatile method.

Need more area for installation. The cost of the equipment is very high. The tool is more difficult to make since it must be insulated to maintain correct conductive paths to the work piece. Maintenances of higher tolerances require complicated.DISADVANTAGES/LIMITATION OF ECM • • • • • • Large power consumption and the related problems. Electrolytes may destroy the equipment. .

WORKPIECE MATERIAL Virtually any material can be used as long as an etchant and maskant are available: .Aluminum .Titanium .Steel .many more! .Brass .

 Electrolyte is highly pressurized and worker must check for minor cracks in piping before operating.SAFETY PRE-CAUTION IN ECM  Hydrogen gas emitted is very flammable. . so it should be disposed of properly and fire precautions should be taken.  The waste material is very dangerous and environmentally unfriendly (metal sludge) so it must be recycle or disposed of properly.


Electrochemical dissolution is governed by Faraday’s laws. • In ECM. material removal takes place due to atomic dissolution of work material. • The first law states that the amount of electrochemical dissolution or deposition is proportional to amount of charge passed through the electrochemical cell.BASIC CALCULATION IN ECM • Material removal rate (MRR) is an important characteristic to evaluate efficiency of a non-traditional machining process. which may be expressed as: m Q • where m = mass of material dissolved or deposited • Q = amount of charge passed .

Q m A . • Thus.A and valency. A m  ECE   • Thus.ν.BASIC CALCULATION IN ECM • The second law states that the amount of material deposited or dissolved further depends on Electrochemical Equivalence (ECE) of the material that is again the ratio atomic weight.

. m I.A  MRR   t. A m  F. F. • where I = current • ρ= density of the material .BASIC CALCULATION IN ECM • where F = Faraday’s constant = 96500 coulombs I. t.

………….. …………. The atomic weights are given as A1. αn (in decimal fraction) • Now for passing a current of I for a time t. A2. ………….  i .. . νn. the mass of material dissolved for any element ‘i’ is given by m i  a . ν2. α2..BASIC CALCULATION IN ECM • The engineering materials are quite often alloys rather than element consisting of different elements in a given proportion. • Let us assume there are ‘n’ elements in an alloy. An with valency during electrochemical dissolution as ν1.. The weight percentages of different elements are α1.

t F. i Qi  Ai .BASIC CALCULATION IN ECM • where Гa is the total volume of alloy dissolved.  Ai Now. a 1 1 MRR   . .   i . i F. •The total charge passed Q T  I. i . i Ai Q i . i Q T  I.a .A i mi  F. Each element present in the alloy takes a certain amount of charge to dissolve.a .t   Q i i . i Qi  Ai F.t  F..m i .



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