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Sreenidhi Cherku, Murali M Sundaram, and K P Rajurkar

Center for Nontraditional Manufacturing Research
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Lincoln, Nebraska, USA

INTRODUCTION In many conventional machining processes like

Micro ultrasonic machining (micro USM), grinding, milling and broaching processes oil has
is one of the efficient material removal been successfully used as cutting fluid. These
processes especially suitable for the oils can be used either as straight oils, which are
micromachining of hard and brittle materials. pure petroleum based oils or emulsifiers which
The principle of micro USM is shown in Figure 1. are water based oils. Use of straight oils have
In micro USM workpiece which is placed on the excellent lubricating properties and are used
workpiece table vibrates at ultrasonic frequency especially for machining process involving low
(40 KHz). Abrasive slurry is injected on the top speeds, low clearance requiring high quality
of the workpiece. There is a rotating tool which surface finish. These oils have more viscosity
hits the abrasive particles in the slurry which in and good lubricating properties than water and
turn hit the workpiece and chip away the causes less tool wear. Hence, it may be prudent
material from it. The vibrations given to the to use oil based slurry in micro USM. This paper
workpiece aid in refreshing the slurry so that reports the experimental inverstigation of the
fresh abrasive particles are in contact with the same.
workpiece and also in removing the debris from
the tool workpiece gap [1-4]. SYSTEM DESIGN
An in-house built experimental micro USM
system based on the design concept of
“vibration on work piece [5,6]” is schematically
shown in Figure 2.

FIGURE 1. Principle of USM

The abrasive slurry acts as lubricating agent as

well as coolant in reducing the frictional heat
generated due to the movement of the abrasive FIGURE 2. Schematic of in-house built Micro
particles on the workpiece and heat generated USM
by the vibrations due to the transducer. The
slurry also collects the debris from the machined A micro tool, attached to a mandrel rested on V-
area. In general micro USM is carried out with shaped block is rotated by a DC motor and is
water as the medium due to its properties of free to move in X, Y and Z directions with six
excellent coolant, easy removal of debris from degrees of freedom. Micro tools with different
machining zone due to low viscosity, low cost diameters are prepared by wire Electrical
and easy availability. Discharge Grinding (WEDG). The micro tool is
sensitive to elastic bending, vibration, and
breakage. Therefore, the contact force between
tool and workpiece needs to be controlled and
limited to a certain level during machining. This
is achieved by implementing a close-loop control
strategy with force feedback. Key system
components such as electronic balance and
three-axis stage have high resolution (0.1 mg
and 25 nm, respectively) to meet the demand of
accuracy in micro machining.


The machining parameters used in the study are
listed in Table 1.

TABLE 1. Machining parameters FIGURE 3. MRR vs Concentration for particle

size 0~0.5
Control Variable Setting
Applied Load 3g Using medium sized particles as shown in
Vibration amplitude 1 µm Figure 4, MRR increases with the increase in the
Rotational Speed 1000RPM concentration as there are cutting edges for a
Abrasive Particle Size 0~0.5, 1~3, 3~5 given volume of abrasive slurry. The MRR is
Abrasive concentration 0.5%,1%,3% more when machined with oil compared to water
Medium of the slurry Water, Oil as shows the comparison of MRR between
Tool Diameter 180 µm water based and oil based slurry with respect to
Vibration amplitude 1 µm the varying abrasive slurry concentrations for the
Tool Material Tungsten particle size of 1~3.
Work Piece Material Silicon Wafer
Abrasive Material Poly Crystalline

Holes with drill depth of 30 µm are drilled on the

silicon wafer. Each of these experiments are
repeated thrice and the averaged to analyze the

Material removal rate (MRR)

In machining with fine sized grains as shown in
Figure 3, the MRR increases with the increase in
the abrasive particles due to increase in the
number of particles involved in the machining.
MRR is more when machining with the water as
oil is more viscous than water hampers the
process of debris removal in the processing of FIGURE 4. MRR vs Concentration for particle
machining thus accounting for less MRR. size 1~3

When machining with coarser grains as shown

in Figure 5, the MRR is more when machined in
aqueous medium compared to oil. As the grains
become coarser the grain boundaries try to
interlock reducing the number if cutting edges.
Oil possessing more viscous property interlocks
these grains strongly compared to water thus
contributing to less MRR.
Using medium sized abrasives the surface
roughness shown in Figure 7, with the increase
in the concentration the particle size decreases
in the process of machining, indicating more
number of particles to absorb the heat
generated during the process which eventually
reduces the surface roughness. However
surface roughness for oil is less compared to
water since water acting as coolant absorbs the
generated heat.

FIGURE 5. MRR vs Concentration for particle

size 3~5

It is observed that machining with water based

slurry is more suitable for finer particles sizes
with higher concentration or medium particles
sizes with medium concentration or coarser
particle sizes with lower particles where as
machining with oil based slurry is always
suitable for all the particle sizes with low
FIGURE 7. Surface Roughness vs
Surface Roughness Concentration for Particle Size 1~3
When machining with finer grains the surface
shown in Figure 6, finer grains having constant When machining with coarser size grains as
cutting edges hit the workpiece repeatedly. shown in Figure 8, as the concentration
Further the debris is added in the process of increases there are more coarser particles
material removal increasing the frictional heat hitting the work surface thus making it rougher.
making the surface rougher with the increase in Since oil acts as better coolant than water thus
the concentration. However oil acting as coolant giving better surface finish.
reduces the surface roughness to some extent.
Thus producing good surface finish compared to
machining in water medium.

FIGURE 8. Surface Roughness vs

Concentration for Particle Size 3~5
FIGURE 6. Surface Roughness vs
Concentration for Particle Size 0~0.5 Finally it is observed that machining with oil
based slurry gives good surface finish compared
to the water based slurry. Furthermore good with the finer particles whereas machining with
surface finish is given by machining with the coarser grains gives poor surface finish.
finer particles whereas machining with coarser
grains gives poor surface finish. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
The financial support from the NSF under grant
Machining Mode in Oil Based and Water number CMMI – 0728294 and DMI – 0355380 is
Based Slurry acknowledged.
It is evident from the SEM images of the holes
drilled that brittle machining mode occurs when REFERENCES
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Material Removal Rate (MRR) and Surface
Roughness (SR) is reported. It is evident from
the experimental study that machining with
water based slurry is suitable only for finer
particles sizes with higher concentration or
medium particles sizes with medium
concentration or coarser particle sizes with lower
particles where as machining with oil based
slurry is always suitable for all the particle sizes
with low concentration. Further the study reveals
that machining with oil based slurry gives good
surface finish compared to the water based
slurry. Good surface finish is given by machining