Abstract

Titanium alloy Ti-6Al-4V is used extensively in aerospace engines because of its high strength-to-weight ratio and corrosion resistance. Machining of cooling holes in turbine blades for aerospace engines is one of the major challenges faced in aerospace industries. Ti-6Al-4V is known as a difficult to be machined material by conventional machining processes, and machining of micro-through-holes with diameter less than 100 microns is even more challenging. Therefore, the objective of this study is to investigate the feasibility of machining high aspect ratio micro-through holes in Ti-6Al-4V using micro electrical discharge machining (micro-EDM) with the silver (Ag) nanopowder mixed dielectric. The machining time, overcut, recast layer, crater size, aspect ratio and surface finish of the micro-holes were evaluated. In order to minimize the positional inaccuracy and spindle runout, the microelectrodes were fabricated in-situ using block micro-EDM process. In this study, as received electrode of 300 microns diameter tungsten wire was reduced to about 50 microns diameter rod by micro block EDM using a tungsten carbide block. The effect of powder concentration, gap voltage, capacitance and electrode rotational speed was studied. It is found that high quality micro-holes of about 50 microns diameter can be achieved successfully and repeatedly using powder mixed micro-EDM (PM-μEDM). The micro-holes generated by PM-μEDM provides comparatively smoother surface finish and minimal recast layer around the rim of the micro-holes. In addition, PM-μEDM process improves machining stability, thus allowing to minimize the hole size and quality, thus enhancing the aspect ratio of micro-holes.

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