Surface Roughness and Material Removal Rate in Machining Using Microorganisms

[+] Author and Article Information
Daniel Johnson

Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Roscoe Warner

Department of Pathology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Albert J. Shih1

Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109


Corresponding author.

J. Manuf. Sci. Eng 129(1), 223-227 (Aug 27, 2006) (5 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2401629 History: Received December 08, 2005; Revised August 27, 2006

The use of bacteria as a tool for machining, also known as biomachining, is a novel material removal process. This study characterizes the surface changes and relates the material removal rate to quantified bacterial concentrations resulting from machining of pure polycrystalline Cu using the bacterium Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans. Cu blocks, polished to four levels of surface roughness, were utilized to examine the surface effects of bacterial machining. The mass change in Cu foil was measured to find the material removal rate. The most probable number method, a statistical enumeration technique, was applied to estimate bacterial concentrations. Scanning electron microscope (SEM) micrographs demonstrate that bacterial machining is anisotropic, and roughness measurements of the polycrystalline Cu samples showed a deterioration of Ra values of 1.52.5μm. Finally, suggestions for future work are presented that could potentially ameliorate current process problems.

Copyright © 2007 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 5

Traces of bacteria on 600 grit SiC polished surface after 48h of bacteria machining

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Figure 4

SEM micrographs of polished Cu surfaces before and after 48h of bacteria machining; sample polished by (a) 320 grit SiC and (b)600nm diamond

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Figure 3

Diamond slurry polished surface after 48h in sterile media: (a)100× magnification and (b)500× magnification close-up view showing the grain boundary erosion

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Figure 2

The change of Ra for Cu samples in 9K media with and without the bacteria

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Figure 1

Flow chart of biomachining procedure



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