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Micro-EDM by using laminated 3D microelectrodes with deionized water containing B4C powder

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The applicability of micro-electrical discharge machining (micro-EDM) using laminated 3D microelectrodes to eliminate defects such as numerous micro-stripes that are prone to appear on the sidewalls of microstructures manufactured via micro-electrochemical machining (micro-ECM) was examined. The study proposes the fabrication of 3D microstructures with laminated 3D microelectrodes through micro-EDM with deionized water containing B4C powder having a particle size of 1 μm. First, the effect of different machining voltages, B4C concentrations, and microelectrode back-off distances on the unilateral gap was investigated. The results indicated that a machining voltage of 100 V, a B4C concentration of 3 g/L, and a microelectrode back-off distance of 200 μm resulted in a 69 μm unilateral gap of the 3D microstructures. Given the effect of micro-EDM and that B4C is a semiconductor, the plasma discharge channels were enlarged, and the material removal was uniform. This significantly improved the machining efficiency. Furthermore, the polishing of B4C on electrode surfaces and workpiece surfaces smoothly removed the processing attachments with dielectric and ensured efficient and stable machining. Based on the optimized process parameters and after 1.5 h, 3D microstructures with a depth of 800 μm with a square-shaped blind hole and with semicircular and rectangular islands were obtained, and the corresponding roughness (Ra) of the bottom surface was 0.389, 0.388, and 0.392 μm. However, the corresponding microelectrodes wear was low and approximately corresponded to 20, 15, and 15 μm.

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The authors are grateful to their colleagues for essential contribution to the work.


This work is supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 51575360, 51605305), PhD Start-up Fund of Natural Science Foundation of Guangdong Province (No. 2016A030310036, 2016A030310050), the Research and Development Foundation of Science and Technology of Shenzhen (No. JCYJ20160308103527680, JCYJ20150525092941026, JCYJ20150324140036865), and the newly introduced teacher launch scientific research project of Shenzhen University (No. 2016037).

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Correspondence to Feng Luo or Deng-ji Guo.

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Wu, Z., Luo, F., Guo, D. et al. Micro-EDM by using laminated 3D microelectrodes with deionized water containing B4C powder. Int J Adv Manuf Technol 99, 2893–2902 (2018).

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  • Laminated microelectrode
  • Micro-EDM
  • B4C powder
  • Deionized water