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Electric Discharge Machining of an Aluminium Alloy Silicon Carbide Reinforced Metal Matrix Composite

  • T. le Roux
  • M. L. H. Wise
  • D. K. Aspinwall
Chapter

Summary

A metal matrix composite (MMC), 2618 aluminium (2.3Cu, 1.5Mg, 1.2Fe, 1.1Ni) reinforced with 15% by volume silicon carbide (SiC) particulate, nominally 15 µm in diameter, was electric discharge machined (EDM) with a 2 cm2 commercially pure copper electrode using peak currents of 6, 12, 24 and 48 A, all other machining conditions remained unchanged. For comparison an unreinforced matrix alloy, 2618 aluminium (2618 Al), was also machined using exactly the same EDM conditions to assess the effect of the reinforcement on the material removal process. It was found that while the surface roughness of the two materials was approximately the same over the range of peak currents used, the MMC had lower material removal rates and spark gaps and caused higher volumetric electrode wear. It is proposed that these results are due to the insulating effect of the SiC reinforcement which lowers the thermal and electrical conductivities of the MMC compared with those of the unreinforced matrix alloy.

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Copyright information

© Department of Mechanical Engineering University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. le Roux
    • 1
  • M. L. H. Wise
    • 1
  • D. K. Aspinwall
    • 1
  1. 1.University of BirminghamEdgbastonUK

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