Degradation of wire electrode during electrical discharge machining of metal matrix composites
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This paper investigated the degradation of wire electrode during electrical discharge machining of SiC reinforced Al-based metal matrix composites (MMCs). MMCs with different size of reinforcements (0.7, 3 and 13. µm) as well as corresponding matrix material were machined under similar machining conditions to understand the effect of reinforcement size on the degradation of wire. In addition, pulse-on-time and wire tension were varied to understand the effect of machining parameters and interaction between machining parameters and size of the reinforcements. It was found that initial circular shaped wire deformed during the machining process as curved front and rear edges and two straight side edges irrespective of cutting conditions and workpiece materials. The curved edge at the front and straight side edges take part in material removal and experience sever degradations. The final cross-sectional area of the wire after the machining process is decided by balancing two mechanisms: (i) downward flow of highly malleable soft wire material due to high temperature which increases the diameter of wire electrode and (ii) vaporisation of the wire material at higher temperature which reduces the diameter of wire electrode. These complex processes are affected by machining conditions as well as workpiece materials.
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