ARTICLE IN PRESS

International Journal of Machine Tools & Manufacture 47 (2007) 1214–1228 www.elsevier.com/locate/ijmactool

A review on current research trends in electrical discharge machining (EDM)
Norliana Mohd AbbasÃ, Darius G. Solomon, Md. Fuad Bahari
Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Universiti Teknologi MARA, 40450 Shah Alam, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia Received 15 November 2005; received in revised form 20 May 2006; accepted 17 August 2006 Available online 17 November 2006

Abstract Electrical discharge machining (EDM) is one of the earliest non-traditional machining processes. EDM process is based on thermoelectric energy between the work piece and an electrode. A pulse discharge occurs in a small gap between the work piece and the electrode and removes the unwanted material from the parent metal through melting and vaporising. The electrode and the work piece must have electrical conductivity in order to generate the spark. There are various types of products which can be produced using EDM such as dies and moulds. Parts of aerospace, automotive industry and surgical components can be finished by EDM. This paper reviews the research trends in EDM on ultrasonic vibration, dry EDM machining, EDM with powder additives, EDM in water and modeling technique in predicting EDM performances. r 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: EDM; Ultrasonic vibration; Dry EDM; Powder additives; Dielectric; Modeling

1. Introduction Electrical discharge machining (EDM) is a non-traditional concept of machining which has been widely used to produce dies and molds. It is also used for finishing parts for aerospace and automotive industry and surgical components [1]. This technique has been developed in the late 1940s [2] where the process is based on removing material from a part by means of a series of repeated electrical discharges between tool called the electrode and the work piece in the presence of a dielectric fluid [3]. The electrode is moved toward the work piece until the gap is small enough so that the impressed voltage is great enough to ionize the dielectric [4]. Short duration discharges are generated in a liquid dielectric gap, which separates tool and work piece. The material is removed with the erosive effect of the electrical discharges from tool and work piece [5]. EDM does not make direct contact between the electrode and the work piece where it can eliminate mechanical stresses, chatter and vibration problems during
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E-mail address: chelorot@lycos.com (N. Mohd Abbas). 0890-6955/$ - see front matter r 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.ijmachtools.2006.08.026

machining [1]. Materials of any hardness can be cut as long as the material can conduct electricity [6]. EDM techniques have developed in many areas. Trends on activities carried out by researchers depend on the interest of the researchers and the availability of the technology. In a book published in 1994, Rajurkar [7] has indicated some future trends activities in EDM: machining advanced materials, mirror surface finish using powder additives, ultrasonic-assisted EDM and control and automation. However, the review presented in this paper is on current EDM research trends carried out by researchers on machining techniques viz. ultrasonic vibration, dry EDM machining, EDM with powder additives and EDM in water and modeling techniques in predicting EDM performances. The areas are selected because of the novel techniques employed (ultrasonic vibration and powder additives), the environmental aspect (dry machining and EDM in water) and effort towards validating and predicting EDM performance (modeling technique). Each topic will present the activities carried out by the researchers and the development of the area that brings it to the current trends. Wire EDM is also discussed in each topic.

2. Thoe et al. Tool wear Yu et al. Gao and Liu [20] found that the efficiency of the ultrasonic microEDM is eight times greater than micro-EDM when work piece material is stainless steel with 0. A study on the effects of ultrasonic vibration on the EDM performance for fabricating microholes in Nitinol was done by Huang et al. The work piece was vibrated during machining and they have succeeded in machining microholes as small as 5 m in diameter in quartz glass and silicon. 2. Yan et al.5 mm thickness and the electrode is tungsten with 43 mm diameter. Ultrasonic vibration Introduction of ultrasonic vibration to the electrode is one of the methods used to expand the application of EDM and to improve the machining performance on difficult to machine materials. Machining of microholes In 1995 Zhixin et al. [22] have studied the tool wear during the 3D micro ultrasonic machining. Based on theories in fluidization engineering and ultrasonic digassing. high tool wear posed a problem. / International Journal of Machine Tools & Manufacture 47 (2007) 1214–1228 1215 2. Theoretical model and fuzzy logic An adaptive fuzzy control system of servomechanism for electro-discharge machining with ultrasonic was studied by Zhang et al. [12] dealt with combined ultrasonic and electrical discharge machining of ceramic coated nickel alloy. a method of introducing ultrasonic vibrations into MEDM processes was conceptualized and developed. mild steel and copper) with boron carbide abrasive slurry on ceramic coated nickel alloy work piece. They showed that the tool shape remain unchanged and the tool wear has been compensated by applying the uniform wear method developed for micro EDM and its integration with CAD/ . Yeo et al. as an enhancement of molten metal ejection from the surface of the work piece [8]. mild steel is found to be the most resilient whereas the other materials fail as a result of fatigue fracture or deformation. [11] proved that the depth of microholes by EDM with ultrasonic vibration becomes as about two times as that without ultrasonic vibration and machining rate increased.2. a sintered diamond tool was tested and was proven to be effective. [15]. [13] introduces ultrasonic vibration into micro-EDM: Ti–6Al–4 V as work piece material with 32 mm thickness. [18] to adjust discharge pulse parameter in a timely manner and machining gap to optimize the machining state and to improve the machining efficiency. They have indicated that it is easy to produce a combined technology which benefits from the virtues of ultrasonic machining and EDM. silver steel. Wansheng et al. 20 kHz ultrasonic vibration and 2 mm amplitude. The pulse discharge is produced by the relative motion between the tool and work piece simplifying the equipment and reducing its cost.3. rotary and vibro-rotary Ghoreishi and Atkinson [17] compared the effects of high and low frequency forced axial vibration of the electrode. In the machining range. [10] has developed an ultrasonic vibration pulse electro-discharge machining (UVPEDM) technique to produce holes in engineering ceramics material. rotation of the electrode and combinations of the methods (vibro-rotary) in respect of MRR. [9] proposed spark erosion with ultrasonic frequency using a DC power supply instead of the usual pulse power supply. [14] adopted a machining method that combined micro electrical discharge machining (MEDM) and micro ultrasonic vibration machining (MUSM). attempts to improve micrhole drilling in UEDM. 2. Using ultrasonic vibration during EDM greatly increased the MRR of the work piece. They obtained microholes with a roundness value of about 2 mm (the maximum radius minus the minimum radius). [16] investigated the limitations of microholes machining capabilities as well as current. Vibration. holes with diameter of 0.5. Fabricating microholes in nitinol increased the machining efficiency more than 60 times without significantly increasing the electrode wear.2 mm and depth/diameter ratio of more then 15 can be drilled. Workpiece vibration A new method for micro ultrasonic machining has been developed by Egashira and Masuzawa [19]. Prihandana et al. They showed that the diameter variation between the entrance and exit (DVEE) could reach a value of about 2 mm in microholes with diameters of about 150 mm and depth of 500 mm. [21] have studied the effect of vibrated work piece.4. 2. They have found that high amplitude combined with high frequency increase the MRR. 2. They found the following: when drilling 1 mm diameter single hole using various tool materials (tungsten. carbide YG6X electrode.1. They have shown that when the vibration was introduced on the work piece the flushing effect increased. To solve the problem.ARTICLE IN PRESS N. Mohd Abbas et al. They have confirmed by experiment that this new technique is effective in obtaining a high material removal rate (MRR). The higher efficiency gained by the employment of ultrasonic vibration is mainly attributed to the improvement in dielectric circulation which facilitates the debris removal and the creation of a large pressure change between the electrode and the work piece. tool wear ratio (TWR) and surface quality (SQ) in EDM die sinking and found that vibro-rotary increases MRR by up to 35% compared with vibration EDM and by up to 100% compared with rotary EDM in semi finishing. Zhang et al. The study of the effects on ultrasonic vibration of the electrode on EDM has been undertaken since mid 1980s. Ogawa et al.

7. Zhang et al. Fig. respectively. [8] concluded that with ultrasonic aid the cutting efficiency of WEDM can be increased by 30% and the roughness of the machined surface reduced from 1. [25] found that heat generation by oxidation of the molten and evaporated steel enhances the machining efficiency and surface roughness is found to be affected by gas medium. which gains popularity from year 2003 and continues until year 2006. However the harder material such as alumina ceramic is also evaluated. tool electrode is formed to be thin walled pipe. For air and oxygen gas the corresponding values of Ra was measured to be 0. The range of the ultrasonic frequency used during the experiment is between 17 and 25 kHz. pulse duration and the discharge current. The technique was developed to decrease the pollution caused by the use of liquid dielectric which leads to production of vapour during machining and the cost to manage the waste. The method starts with vibrating the electrode followed by vibrating the work piece in year 1999. discharge current and the decrease of the wall thickness of electrode pipe while the surface roughness is increased with respect to the increase of open voltage. 1.7Ra. / International Journal of Machine Tools & Manufacture 47 (2007) 1214–1228 CAM to micro ultrasonic vibration process for generating accurate three-dimensional (3D) micro cavities. High-pressure gas or air is supplied through the pipe. [23] studied the ultrasonic EDM in gas. Guo et al. Dry machining In dry EDM. pulse duration.6. Progress of method in combining ultrasonic vibration with EDM from 1995 to 2006. Most of the experiments are evaluating on the performance of steel based work piece materials since these materials are widely used in industries. 2. Wire EDM Guo et al. High frequency vibration of wire improves the discharge concentration and reduces the probability of rupture wire.046. Remarks Ultrasonic vibration EDM is suitable to produce deep and small holes products. Yu et al.ARTICLE IN PRESS 1216 N. Before that. 3. [24] developed a theoretical model to estimate the roughness of finished surface. 2. amplitude of ultrasonic actuation. The role of the gas is to remove the debris from the gap and to cool the inter electrode gap. 2 shows the principle of dry EDM. [26] studied the machining mechanism of wire EDM (WEDM) with ultrasonic vibration of the wire and found that the combined technology of WEDM and ultrasonic facilitates the form of multiple-channel discharge and raise the utilization ratio of the energy that leads to the improvement in cutting rate and surface roughness. Zhang et al.8. Cu is most frequently selected as the tool electrode either in gas machining or in dielectric machining. . 1 shows the progress of method in combining ultrasonic vibration with EDM from year 1995 to 2006. 2. Ultrasonic vibration in gas Zhang et al. The result shows that the MRR increased with respect to the increase of open voltage. [28] investigated the capability of the technique in machining cemented carbide material and compared the Workpiece vibrates [14] Tool: rotates vibrates & vibro-rotary [17] Tool rotates Wire vibrates [26] Wire vibrates [8] Tool vibrates [10] Tool vibrates [9] W'piece vibrates [12] Tool vibrates [19] vibrates up&down [13] Tool vibrates [18] Tool vibrates [25] W'piece vibrates [20] W'piece vibrates [22] W'piece vibrates [21] 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 Fig. This is maybe due to the characteristics of the material which stable under sparking condition [27]. Fig.95Ra to 1.032 and 0. Mohd Abbas et al. The gas is applied through the internal hole of a thin-walled pipe electrode.

Electrode wear [28]. In Fig. and electrode wear ratio one-third lower. The lowest electrode wear ratio machining was dry EDM milling (see Fig. / International Journal of Machine Tools & Manufacture 47 (2007) 1214–1228 1217 Fig. They found that for machining the same shape oil die sinking EDM shows shorter machining time. MRR and tool wear In 1991 Kunieda et al. 6). 5. Mohd Abbas et al. From observation of the cross-section of the tool electrode surface. 2. 4. Work removal rate [28]. The tool electrode wear is almost negligible for any pulse duration because the attached molten work piece material protects the tool electrode surface against wear. They found that the stock removal rate is increased due to the enlarged volume of discharged crater and more frequent occurrence of discharge. 6. According to the results. Then in 1997 Kunieda et al. Fig.ARTICLE IN PRESS N. The information given in this paper is interesting and they are reproduced here for better clarity. dry EDM milling was second. 3. it is shown that the EDM method with the shortest machining time was oil die sinking EDM. 3 and 4 show the work removal rate and electrode wear ratio in groove machining. The mechanism for minute tool electrode wear in dry EDM was studied by Yoshida and Kunieda [31]. pulse duration and pulse interval and the rotational speed of the tool electrode. Fig. 5. ZhanBo et al. But because oil die sinking requires time for producing electrodes. it was found that the tool electrode wore by the depth of only 2 mm during the early stage of successive pulse discharges since the initial surface of the tool electrode was not covered with the steel layer. Figs. and oil EDM . [29] has revealed a new method to improve EDM efficiency by supplying oxygen gas into gap. Electrode wear ratio [28]. dry EDM should be more useful in actual production. [30] discovered a 3D shape can be machined very precisely using a special NC tool path which can supply a uniform high-velocity air flow over the working gap and MRR is improved as the concentration of oxygen in air is increased. Machining time [28]. The principle of dry EDM [25]. 3. [32] studied the feasibility of 3D surface machining by dry EDM to investigate the influence of depth of cut and gas pressure. machining characteristics between oil EDM milling and oil die sinking EDM. polarity and surface roughness and improvement techniques. The result shows that optimum combination between depth of Fig. milling third. work removal rate of dry EDM milling is about six times larger than that of oil EDM milling. Fig. The following sections present the progress in dry EDM based on topics: MRR and tool wear.1.

(6) The process is possible in vacuum condition as long as there is a gas flow. The maximum removal rate obtained was almost equal to that of high speed milling of quenched steel by a milling machine. The experimental result shows that the increase in open voltage.37.3. fluid tank and fluid circulation system needed. (3) It is possible to change supplying gas according to different applications. Using piezoelectric actuator Kunieda et al. Mohd Abbas et al.2. discharge current and pulse duration. . the earliest paper mentioning about the technique was published in 1991. (4) The residual stress is small since the melting resolidification layer is thin.38]. 3.3. Curodeau et al. [34] developed a theoretical model to estimate the roughness of the finished surface. 3. / International Journal of Machine Tools & Manufacture 47 (2007) 1214–1228 cut and gas pressure and when pulse duration 25 mm it is leads to maximum MRR and minimum tool wear. Dry ultrasonic vibration electrical discharge (dry UEDM) Zhang et al. (7) The machine structure can be made compact since no working basin. [38] introduced an improvement of dry EDM characteristics using piezoelectric actuator to help in controlling the gap length.1. [23] found that MRR with the same surface roughness UEDM in gas is nearly twice as much as EDM in gas but less than the conventional EDM. On further investigation.3. [25] initiated a new method which is ultrasonic vibration electrical discharge (UEDM) machining in gas. However. the vibration of the wire electrode is minute and the gap distance in dry WEDM is narrower than in conventional WEDM using dielectric liquid which enables the dry WEDM to realize high accuracy in finish cutting. Zhang et al.4. Researchers from Japan and China give major contribution for the progressing research in this area. Wire EDM Furudate and Kunieda [39] conducted studies in dry WEDM. Improvement of the technique 3. amplitude of ultrasonic vibration and decrease of wall thickness of the pipe can give an increase of the MRR. The MRR increased when the discharge power density on the working surface exceeds a certain threshold due to thermally activated chemical reaction between the gas and work piece material. 3. Zhang et al. The drawbacks can be resolved by increasing the wire winding speed and decreasing the actual depth of cut.3. Remarks To the best of our knowledge.3. Wang and Kunieda [40] agreed that WEDM is applicable for finish cut especially for improving the straightness of the machined surface. (2) The processing reaction force is much smaller that in conventional EDM. paper entitled ‘Electrical discharge machining in gas’ which was published in CIRP Annals in 1997 was referred for 18 times [43]. Most researchers deal with steel as work piece when investigating the performance of dry EDM [30. As the rotational speed increases the tool wear increases moderately. pulse duration.2. [37] when they introduced the high speed 3D milling by dry EDM. No corrosion of the work piece gives an advantage to dry WEDM in manufacturing high precision dies and molds. (5) Working gap is narrower than in conventional EDM. He also found that oxygen gas can produced greater MRR than air. Then theories of ultrasonic vibration in increasing MRR were introduced [36]. Polarity and surface roughness A paper entitled ‘Discussion of electrical discharge machining in gas’ written by Li et al. 3. 3. To elucidate the effects of the piezoelectric actuator an EDM performance simulator was developed to evaluate the machining stability and MRR of dry EDM.5. Traveling tool electrode can remove debris from the working gap even in atmosphere and by utilizing this process as finish-cut the straightness obtained along the work’s thickness direction is better than that machined in water [41]. Experiments which have been carried out using AISI 1045 steel as work piece material and copper as the electrode show that the roughness of finished surface increases with an increase in the discharge voltage. [33] recommend positive polarity to be employed in dry EDM because electrodes play main roles in collision and ionization and in order to ensure machining process stable at the spark discharge state. [35] proposed a new EDM process involving the usage of a thermoplastic composite electrode and air as dielectric in order to perform automated polishing of tool steel cavity. The characteristics of dry EDM list by Kunieda [44] are: (1) Tool electrode wear is negligible for any pulse duration. 3. a certain gas pressure is necessary to strengthen deionization in dry EDM and to keep discharge points dispersed in gap.ARTICLE IN PRESS 1218 N. The process can reduce 44 mm Ra surface finish to 36 mm Ra. The process reaction force is negligibly small. Kunieda and Furudate [42] found some drawbacks of dry WEDM which include lower MRR compared to conventional WEDM and streaks generated over the finished surface during the studies in high precision finish cutting by dry EDM. Dry EDM milling The dry EDM technique is improved by Kunieda et al.

4. [54] using Al with 40 g/l and 10 mm granularity and they discovered that machining efficiency was improved from 2. 4. [50] studied a deposition method of lubricant during finishing EDM to produce parts for ultrahigh vacuum such as space environment using PMEDM. When investigating the surface modification of SKD 61 with PMEDM. silicon (Si). [49] revealed that the corrosion resistance and surface hardness were improved by adding the proper powder into dielectric. Surface quality (SQ) Ming and He [47] indicated that some conductive powder and lipophilic surface agents can lower the surface roughness and the tendency of cracks in middle finish and finish machining but the inorganic oxide additive does not have such effect. Yih-fong and Fu-chen [51] investigates the effect of powder properties on SQ of SKD-11 work piece using Al. The result shows that 2 g/l of Si concentration. 7. The polishing time has a greater effect on decreasing the surface roughness. Research studies conducted in dry EDM. Tzeng and Lee [55] indicated that the greatest MRR is produced . surface roughness. The development of the technique concerns more on to increase the MRR since the MRR is lower compared to conventional machining. surface roughness. Wong et al. type and concentration influence the dielectric performance [46]. Machining efficiency and surface roughness of rough PMEDM in rough machining was studied by Zhao et al. copper (Cu). 34% of the papers referred deal with EDM technique. material removal rate. chromium (Cr). 8.06 to 3. and material removal rate. crushed glass. relative electrode wear ratio.ARTICLE IN PRESS N. Yan and Chen [53] describes the effect of dielectric mixed with electrically conductive powder such as Al powder on the gap distance. MRR and SQ. EDM milling and a few other techniques. / International Journal of Machine Tools & Manufacture 47 (2007) 1214–1228 1219 Fig. and voltage waveform. This technique should be supported and more investigation should be made since it helps to save the environment. WEDM.4 mm3/min with an increasing rate of 70%. Powder additives Fine abrasive powder is mixed into the dielectric fluid. aluminium (Al). UEDM. Yan et al. Fig. but not on SKH-54 work pieces. It can be seen that dry EDM can be applied to EDM. Mohd Abbas et al.2. Smoother surface can be obtained by adding aluminum powder to the mixture of molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) powder and working oil and it has smaller friction coefficient than that with normal working oil. and SiC powders. It is shown that the dielectric with suspended electrically conductive powder can enlarge the gap distance and can improve the energy dispersion. The characteristics of the powder such as the size. Material removal rate Jeswani [52] revealed that the addition of about 4 g/l of fine graphite powder in kerosene increases MRR by 60% and tool wear by 15%. EDM process becomes more stable and improves machining efficiency. Silicon powder was used by Pecas and Henriques [46] to assess improvement through quality surface indicators and process time management over a set of different processing area. It can be seen that dry EDM has many advantages over oil EDM. However. The hybrid material removal process is called powder mixed EDM (PMEDM) where it works steadily at low pulse energy [45] and it significantly affects the performance of EDM process. 7 shows the proportion of research studies conducted in this area.57 mm for 64 cm2 electrode. The smallest particle (70–80 nm) generates best surface finish and Al powder produces the best surface finish. most studies were conducted to evaluate the surface finish since the process can provide mirror surface finish which is a challenging issue in EDM. Furutani et al. They suggested that it is important to have the correct combination of powder and work piece materials and an understanding of the fundamental mechanisms affecting such combinations will promote the applications of PMEDM to feasibly produce superior surface finish and properties of components using EDM.09 mm for 1 cm2 and 0. 4. The history of the developments taking place in dry EDM can be observed. Al powder has been reported to give mirror finish for SKH-51 work pieces. [48] compares the nearmirror-finish phenomenon using graphite. Electrically conductive powder reduces the insulating strength of the dielectric fluid and increase the spark gap between the tool and the work piece. The progress in dry EDM research is shown in Fig. silicon carbide (SiC) and molybdenum sulphide with different grain size. smooth and high reflective craters were achieved with average surface roughness (Ra) depends on the area and varies between 0. The machining efficiency can be highly increased by selecting proper discharge parameter (increasing peak current and reducing pulse width) with better surface finish in comparison with conventional EDM machining.1.

Yu et al [28]: dry EDM is suitable for 3D milling of difficult to cut materials such as cemented carbide. amplitude of ultrasonic actuation. Z. Mohd Abbas et al. [57]. no corrosion of work piece and high finish cutting in dry EDM. [56] established optimum process conditions for PMEDM in the rough machining phase using the Taguchi method with graphite powder and found out that addition of an appropriate amount of the graphite powder into the dielectric fluid caused discernible improvement in MRR and reduction in tool wear as well as in surface roughness. MRR increased with the increase of open voltage.4. Li L. Recast layer Influence of powder particle in micro EDM especially in the gap. Kunieda et al [37]:oxidation of work pieces due to the usage of oxygen electrode wear is almost negligible increase MRR. 2002 Zhang et al [25]:EDM with ultrasonic aid (UEDM) can be achieved in gas medium. B. Curodeau et al [35]: a thermoplastic composite electrode used in dry EDM using air as dielectric medium. The result shows that MRR. by chromium and 70–80 nm of grain size. Better straightness with dry EDM. 4.ARTICLE IN PRESS 1220 N. Kansal . voltage and pulse on time and the surface roughness was highly influenced by the presence of SiC additives. et al [40]: the explosive force and electrostatic force acting on wire electrode decrease in dry WEDM. The result shows that Al powder leads to thinnest rimzone and highest MRR. [59] established empirical relation of machining responses using response surface methodology technique while machining Ti-6246 work piece by adding SiC powder in the dielectric. 1997 Kunieda et al [30]: EDM can be achieved in gas. 4. Wang T. Fig. 2001 Kunieda et al [42]: narrower gap. pulse duration. respectively. 2003 Wang et al [41]: dry EDM removes environmental pollution due to liquid dielectric. Wu et al. Progress in dry EDM research. 1999 Yoshida et al [31]: tool electrode is almost negligible for any pulse duration in dry EDM. 2004 Kunieda et al [38] improvement of dry EDM by controlling the discharge gap using a piezoelectric actuator. 2005 Zhang et al [34]: a theoretical model of surface roughness in ultrasonic vibration assisted EDM (UEDM) in gas. 8. Zhang et al [23]: in UEDM. Modeling Sharif et al. tool wear and SQ are greatly influenced by the current. [58] added surfactant with Al powder and found that it has more apparent effect to distribute electrical discharging energy to achieve thinner recast layer around 1–2 mm in thickness compared to 5–8 mm under pure dielectric.Q [33]: discharge passage extends rapidly in the gas medium of dry EDM. discharge current and with the decrease of the wall thickness of electrode pipe. Kansal et al. Zhang et al [36]: ultrasonic vibration improves MRR in gas by increasing the effective discharge.3. thermal spread in dielectric and influenced zone were investigated on 718 inconel alloy by Klocke et al. Al and Si powder were added with 2 and 10 g/l concentration. / International Journal of Machine Tools & Manufacture 47 (2007) 1214–1228 1991 Kunieda et al [29]: oxygen gas introduced in discharge gap in water based dielectric increased removal rate.

peak current and concentration of SiC powder were chosen as variables. Tariq Jilani and Pandey [67] investigated the performance of water as dielectric in EDM using distilled water. [60] used the same method as [59] to optimize the process parameter of PMEDM. concentration of 4 g/l. Pulse on time. It is seen that aluminium powder suspension attracts many researchers since it contributes well for improving MRR as well as the surface finish. 5. Kozak et al.6. Results indicated that the best performance from the viewpoint of surface finish is achieved using the powder particles of 1 mm diameter. the machining accuracy was poor but the surface finish was better. tap water and a mixture of 25% tap and 75% distilled water. [63] studied the added powder in kerosene for the micro-slit machining of titanium alloy using electro-discharge machining and discovered that SiC powder in kerosene can produce better material removal depth than Al. Distribution of type of powder used based on the collected papers. Research over the last 25 years has involved the use of pure water and water with additives. / International Journal of Machine Tools & Manufacture 47 (2007) 1214–1228 1221 et al. 9 to show the type of powder used and to compare the number of works dealing with each type of powders.1. duty cycle. . Other methods An effective method for promoting the MRR of SKD11 was found by Yan and Chen [61] when rotating the electrode and machining in the dielectric suspended with alumina powder under optimum conditions. The error between experimental and predicted values of MRR and surface roughness are within 78% and À7.5. A number of researchers worked in this area and investigated on various types of powders with different concentration and grain sizes on various types of work pieces.5 g/ml concentration Others Cr Graphite Si SiC Al 0 2 4 6 8 10 Fig. The effect of finishing in abrasive fluid machining on microholes by EDM [65] shows that using SiC abrasive.ARTICLE IN PRESS N. Remarks The earliest paper mentioning about PMEDM was published in 1981. 5. and the electrode rotation speed of 60 rpm. Combination of high peak current and high concentration yields more MRR and smaller surface roughness. respectively. TiC layer grows with thickness of 150 mm with hardness of 1600 Hv on carbon steel with an electrode of 1 mm in diameter. Machining in distilled water resulted in a higher MRR and a lower wear ratio than in kerosene when a high pulse energy range was used. Pure water The first paper about the usage of water as dielectric was published by Jeswani [66] in 1981. With distilled water. A surface modification method by EDM with a green compact electrode has been studied to make thick TiC layer using titanium alloy powder in kerosene-like dielectric was proposed by Furutani et al. Chow et al. the optimal combination for the finishing of titanium alloy is 8 mm grain size and 0. The approach is taken to promote a better health and safe environment while working with EDM. [64] have published a paper entitled ‘Study of electrical discharge machining using powder suspended working media’ which compared the characteristics obtained using kerosene and a mixture of deionized water with abrasive powder. The best machining rates have 4. From the reported papers. it is observed that the additions of Cu powder make almost no difference to the pure kerosene dielectric. Mohd Abbas et al.5 g/ml concentration while for stainless steel it is 20 mm grain size and 0. He compared the performances of kerosene and distilled water over the pulse energy range 72–288 mJ. 4.15%. 9. EDM in water Water as dielectric is an alternative to hydrocarbon oil. The effect of adding powder in dielectric was studied and many researchers have shown that it improves surface finish to a great extent. This is because hydrocarbon oil such as kerosene will decompose and release harmful vapour (CO and CH4) [23].85% to 3. [62]. From the collected literature a bar chart is made in Fig.

it was observed that carburization and sharp crack propagation along the grain boundary occurred after the heat treatment. While investigating the influence of kerosene and distilled water as dielectric on Ti–6A1–4 V work pieces Chen et al. migrated to the work piece forming a TiN hard layer which resulting in good wear resistance of the machined surface after EDM. While doing a comparative study on the surface integrity of plastic mold steel. Sharma et al. [70] found that carbide is formed on the work piece surface while using kerosene while oxide is formed on the work piece surface while using distilled water. polyethylene glycol 400. The surface of titanium has been modified after EDM using dielectric of urea solution in water [78]. During investigating on white surface layer. a molten and resolidified surface created by electrical discharge process was colored directly by the interference phenomenon of light in the anodic oxide film formed with electrolysis reaction. The erosion process in water-based media consequently possesses higher thermal stability and much higher power input can be achieved especially under critical conditions.e.3. Wire EDM Levy [79] experimented an environmentally friendly and high-capacity dielectric regeneration for wire EDM. The proposed control achieves an optimum and stable operation using tap water as dielectric fluid to prevent the generation of undesired impulses and keep the distance between the electrode and the work piece within the optimum stable range. The thickness of the oxide film controlled by the average working voltage determined the color tone. attaining to its maximum value around the yield strength and then fall rapidly to compressive residual stresses in the core of the material since the stresses within plastically deformed layers are equilibrated with elastic stresses. When machining in water. A new application in EDM power supply was designed to develop small size EDM systems by Casanueva et al. a wire EDM machine to meet the high-end die-machining requirements of the semiconductor and precision electronic component industries which uses water as the machining medium. He used a filtration unit based on membrane technology to get an efficient and long-term autonomy regeneration system. 5. / International Journal of Machine Tools & Manufacture 47 (2007) 1214–1228 been achieved with the tap water and machining in water has the possibility of achieving zero electrode wear when using copper tools with negative polarities. The debris size of Ti–6Al–4 V alloy in distilled water is greater than that in kerosene and compared with kerosene. [74]. When kerosene as dielectric. When comparing the performance of water-based dielectric with hydrocarbon oil it shows that surface finished in distilled water is better . in the roughing range with high open-circuit voltages and positive polarity tool electrode. Studies conducted by Kang and Kim [75] in order to investigate the effects of EDM process conditions on the crack susceptibility of a nickel-based super alloy revealed that depending on the dielectric fluid and the post-EDM process such as solution heat treatment.ARTICLE IN PRESS 1222 N. Leao and Pashby [77] found that some researchers have studied the feasibility of adding organic compound such as ethylene glycol. Stresses are found to be increasing rapidly with respect to depth.4. using deionized water as dielectric the specimen after heat treatment underwent oxidation and showed no crack propagation behavior. Remarks Water-based dielectric can replace hydrocarbon oils since it is environmentally safe. 5. 5. Diane [80] emphasize on proper mix and type of resin used in deionization of water for wire EDM. In 2005. [71] presented an experimental work to measure residual stresses and hardness depth in EDM surfaces. Konig and Siebers [68] explained the influence of the working medium on the removal process. dendritic structures while machining in water causes a decarbonization. the impulsive force of discharge in distilled water is smaller but more stable. However. An article published in 1993 [81] mentioned that Mitsubishi Electric has developed an anti-electrolysis power supply that can improved the surface finish with water-immersion dielectric. [83] proposed a coloring method of titanium alloy using WEDM during the finishing without any other post treatment. Ekmekci et al. Ekmekci et al. cracks exist in recast layer could propagate into substrate when a 20% strain tensile force was applied at room temperature. i. polyethylene glycol 200. Water with additives Koenig and Joerres [76] reported that a highly concentrated aqueous glycerine solution has an advantage as compared to hydrocarbon dielectrics when working with long pulse durations and high pulse duty factors and discharge currents.2. The nitrogen element decomposed from the dielectric that contained urea. polyethylene glycol 600. allowing much greater increases in the removal rate. Takeshi and Yutaka [82] claimed that Mitsubishi has developed DWC90PA. dextrose and sucrose to improve the performance of demonized water. Mohd Abbas et al. [69] found that the use of an oil dielectric increases the carbon content in the white layer and appears as iron carbides (Fe3C) in columnar. Kruth et al. A considerable difference between conventional oilbased dielectrics and aqueous media is specific boiling energy of aqueous media is some eight times higher and boiling phenomena occur at a lower temperature level. [73] found that the amount of retained austenite phase and the intensity of microcracks have found to be much less in the white layer of the samples machined in de-ionized water. They indicated that working medium has a sustained influence on the removal process. [72] investigated the potential of electrically conductive chemical vapor deposited diamond as an electrode for micro-electrical discharge machining in oil and water. Minami et al.

permitting safe operation of plant. 1993 Koenig W. 1987 Koenig W. et al [76]: Use aqueous solution of organic compounds as medium for EDM sinking almost completely excludes any fire hazard. the relations between tool wear and discharge time under different electric polarity are seen to have inverse effect. zero electrode wear possible. Cogun et al.ARTICLE IN PRESS N. Yoshiro et al [81]: A machine tool maker has established technologies for water-immersion machining. [94] tested the validity of model proposed by Heuvelman for erosion strength of material to predict tool Fig. Fig. gap voltage. There are many advantages when we use water-based dielectric in EDM reported by researchers from different parts of the world during the last 25 years. The electrical and physical parameters related to the process are discharge pulse on time. artificial neural network and thermal modeling are employed to predict the output of the process mainly the surface finish. . The area upon which the flux is incident is assumed to grow with time. et al [68]: EDM sinking process can be made more cost effective through the use of water based media. thermal conductivity. Investigation should be made to evaluate the performance of water-based dielectric in machining advanced materials such as carbide and composite materials. MRR and tool wear [87] for various materials have been established by employing dimensional analysis. Modeling EDM process is influenced by many input factors. However. electric polarity and material properties are identified. 6. Ekmekci. A semi empirical model of surface finish [86]. The compton original energy balance for gas discharges is amended and the model uses the photoelectric effect as the dominant source of energy supplied to the cathode surface. significantly improving competitiveness with other process. [88] presented a simple cathode erosion model for EDM. Tariq Jilani et al [67]: The best machining rates have been achieved with tap water as the dielectric medium. sparking frequency. 1984 S. A model on variable mass and cylindrical plasma was introduced by Eubank et al. [93] presented a model for relative power dissipation by taking into account the different current emission mechanism and cathode space-charge characteristics valid for refractory and non-refractory materials. digitized and then modeled in the form of Fourier series. Surface profile information obtained is transferred to computer. Tantra et al. Then. 2005 Yan B. Using design of experiment method. it was observed that carburization and sharp crack propagation along the grain boundary occurred after the heat treatment. Mathematical models Dibitonto et al. Kang & Kim [75]: In the case of the kerosene electrical discharge (ED) machined specimens. dimensional analysis. Results from the model show good agreement when compared to experimental finding.P et al [69]: Water dielectric cause decarbonisation in the white layer at the surface of a work piece caused by EDM. 6. 10 presents a few important advantages. 2004 Leao & Pashby [77]: Water based dielectrics may replace oil-based fluids in die sinking applications.1. The final results show that the average error between the experiment and prediction was less than 10% for surface finish model and less than 20% for MRR. 6. Advantages of using water-based dielectric in EDM. 1995 Kruth J. [92] investigated on surface profile of 2080 tool steel machined under varying machining parameters. et al [73]: The amount of retained austenite phase and the intensity of microcracks has been found to be much less in the white layer of the samples machined in deionized water dielectric liquid. McGeough and Rasmussen [91] proposed a model for electro discharge texturing based on the effect of dielectric fluid and in particular the influence of change in the resistance in the dielectric during each voltage pulse. tool wear and MRR. Yahya and Manning [85] applied the method in analyzing MRR. et al [70]: The MRR is greater and the relative wear ratio is lower when machining in distilled water rather than in kerosene.L. Mohd Abbas et al. It is found that surface roughness increases with increasing discharge current. pulse duration. pulse duration and dielectric flushing pressure. gap current and material properties. [89] developed the anode erosion model which accepts power as boundary condition at anode interface and assumed to produce a Gaussian-distributed heat flux on the surface of anode material. B. Patel et al.L [66]: Machining in distilled water resulted in higher MRR and lower wear ratio. [90]. the deionized ED machined specimen after the heat treatment underwent oxidation and showed no crack propogation behaviour. Perez et al. Various techniques viz. et al [78]: TiN was synthesized on the machined surface by chemical reaction that involved elements obtained from the work piece and the urea solution in water as dielectric during EDM: the surface modification of pure titanium metals exhibited improved friction and wear characteristics. It consists of three differential equation-one each from fluid dynamics. The theoretical predictions confirm the practical findings that the surface roughness in texturing is determined primarily by the peak current used and the length of the voltage ‘ontime’. 10. The equation relates the volume of material eroded from the tool electrode to the energy of the pulse and density. However. 1999 Chen S.2. an energy balance and the radiation equationcombined with plasma equation of state. 1223 specific heat and latent heat of vaporization of electrode material. / International Journal of Machine Tools & Manufacture 47 (2007) 1214–1228 1981 Jeswani M. compared to kerosene. Dimensional analysis In 1979 Jeswani [84] used the dimensional analysis to predict the tool wear in EDM. greatly improved the surface finish so that postprocess manual polishing is not required. peak current.H. Problems with the zero-time boundary conditions are overcome by an electron balance procedure. the process parameter viz.

In a paper entitled ‘Modeling of surface finish in electro-discharge machining based upon statistical multi-parameter analysis’. With machining depth. tool radius. [98] combine the ANN and genetic algorithm to find an integrated solution to the problem of modeling and optimization of manufacturing processes. radial basis function network (RBFN). Petropoulos et al. / International Journal of Machine Tools & Manufacture 47 (2007) 1214–1228 wear and their applicability to EDM process such as drilling of deep holes in turbine blades. the larger the maximum amplitude of the vibration for a given span of the wire between the guides.6% for MRR and 4. pulse energy and material properties on MRR and crater shape. An artificial feed forward neural network based on the Levenberg–Marquardt back propagation technique has been developed by Panda and Bhoi [99] to predict MRR. 7. Pandit and Rajurkar [101] illustrates thermal modeling using data dependent system (DDS) which is a stochastic approach during the time. [102] proposed a model for die-sinking controller synthesis for large range operating conditions is illustrated with experimental data taken from commercial die-sinker. The model provides faster. 6. Six neural network models and neuro-fuzzy model for MRR have been established and analyzed. The higher the thickness of the work piece. The knowledge.5. wire tool offset and constant cutting speed during trim cutting. [109] provide a review of modeling efforts in the field of EDM processes and propose the future direction for the modeling of micro-EDM process.ARTICLE IN PRESS 1224 N. Furthermore Puri and Bhattacharya [106] modeled the white layer depth through response surface methodology. A close correlation was revealed between certain texture parameters and the EDM input variables and single and multiple statistical regression models are developed. The modeling system established better knowledge about interaction between tool (graphite) and work piece (nickel alloy). Dhanik et al. Adaptive RBFN and ANFIS models have shown consistent results. designed and manufactured by Charmilles Technologies. Tsai and Wang [97] have applied the same method to predict the surface finish.7. Wire EDM Rajurkar and Wang [104] reported on sparking frequency monitor which is developed to detect thermal load for on-line monitoring control to prevent wire rupture. 6. power dissipation and the rate of channel growth. Wang et al.6. [103] emphasized the interrelationship between surface texture parameters and process para- meters.98% for surface roughness. Tsai and Wang [96] have compared the ANN model on MRR.4. orbital radius. 11 to show the theoretical models available in literature for simulating the input and output parameters. The experimental results show the Heuvelman model does not show a direct correlation with the observation. The model has predicted reasonable values for current density. Remarks Modeling in EDM helps us to get a better understanding of the complex process. experiments have been performed to check the validity of the ANN model and it can be concluded that the ANN model provides faster and more accurate results. Micro EDM Katz and Tibbles [107] proposed a micro EDM model with numerical simulation and experimental validation. Results show that adaptive-network fuzzy interference system (ANFIS) is more accurate with an error 16. Puri and Bhattacharya [105] reports an account of the vibrational behavior of the wire and presents an analytical approach for solution of wire-tool vibration equation considering multiple discharges. The wire rupture phenomenon is analyzed with thermal model and the relationship between the machining rate and surface finish under optimal machine setting was determined by means of a multi-objective model. Other methods Tariq and Pandey [100] employed heat transfer model to study the effects of EDM input parameters: pulse duration. offset depth. crater area. pulse on time. Dhanik and Joshi [108] predicted MRR in a single discharge and the plasma temperature and radius of crater at the cathode predicted using the model were found to agree well with the experimental data in the literature. Artificial neural network (ANN) An attempt of modeling EDM process through ANN was carried out by Gopal and Rajurkar [95]. 6. The error of the model is 5. After that. Results show that tangent sigmoid multi-layered perceptron (TANMLP). The capability of machining intricate parts and hard material has made EDM as one of the most popular machining processes. Mohd Abbas et al.33%. various methods were introduced to predict the output of EDM process. A simple presentation is made in Fig. Altpeter et al. Summary EDM has brought many improvements in machining process in recent years. pulse on-time. The contribution . more accurate results and performs well under the stochastic environment of actual machining conditions without understanding the complex physical phenomena exhibited in electro-discharge machining. pulse off-time and discharge current as the input parameters 9-9-2 size back propagation neural network was developed. 6. 6. In their further investigations. the modeling was first introduced by Jeswani in 1979 using dimensional analysis to predict the tool wear.3. radial step. The input variables are pulse on time during rough cutting. The optimum speed of cutting is 3 mm/ min.

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