An investigation of magnetic-field-assisted material removal in micro-EDM for nonmagnetic materials

Ken Heinz, Shiv G. Kapoor, Richard E. DeVor, Vijay Surla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Previous magnetic-field-assisted microelectrical discharge machining (μ-EDM) techniques have been limited to use with magnetic materials. Therefore, a novel process has been developed and tested to improve material removal rate in magnetic-field-assisted μ-EDM for nonmagnetic materials. The workpiece electrodes were oriented to promote directionality in the current flowing through the workpiece, while an external magnetic field was applied in such a way as to produce a Lorentz force in the melt pool. Single-discharge events were carried out on nonmagnetic Grade 5 titanium workpieces to investigate the mechanical effects of the Lorentz force on material removal. Erosion efficiency, melt pool volume analysis, plasma temperature, electron density, and debris field characterization were used as the response metrics to quantify and explain the change in material removal with the applied Lorentz force. By orienting the Lorentz force to act in a direction pointing into the workpiece surface, volume of material removed was shown to increase by up to nearly 50%. Furthermore, erosion efficiency is observed to increase by over 54%. Plasma temperature is unaffected and electron density shows a slight decrease with the addition of the Lorentz force. The distribution of debris around the crater is shifted to greater distances from the discharge center with the Lorentz force. Taken together, these facts strongly suggest that the Lorentz force process developed produces a mechanical effect on the melt pool to aid in increasing material removal. The application of the Lorentz force is not found to negatively impact tool wear.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number021002
JournalJournal of Manufacturing Science and Engineering
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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