The Effect of Electrolyte Flow Slots in Tooling Electrodes on Workpiece Surface Finish in Electrochemical Machining

B. Bingham[1]
[1]Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, USA

Electrochemical machining (ECM) uses electrolysis to precisely remove material at high rates. ECM has many advantages over conventional machining: no tool wear, no induced mechanical or thermal stresses, high removal rates virtually independent of material hardness or strength, and excellent surface finishes. However, challenges can arise during the design of the tooling electrode when considering the influence of electrolyte flow slots on the final shape of the anode workpiece. Through-tool flow slots can often leave pips, or ridges, of excessive size on the anode because of the increased electrical resistance under the slot areas. A model to predict the final machining surface in the presence of gaps is created using COMSOL Multiphysics®. The results were compared to aluminum samples electrochemically machined with various electrolyte flow slot configurations.