Micro-electro-discharge machining by MEMS actuators with planar electrodes microfabricated on the work surfaces

TitleMicro-electro-discharge machining by MEMS actuators with planar electrodes microfabricated on the work surfaces
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsAlla Chaitanya, C. R., and K. Takahata
Conference NameMicro Electro Mechanical Systems, 2008. MEMS 2008. IEEE 21st International Conference on
Pagination375 -378
Date Publishedjan.
Keywordscopper, copper electrodes, Cu, depth 20 mum, electrostatic actuation, electrostatic actuators, FeCCrJk, MEMS actuators, microelectro-discharge machining, microelectrodes, microfabrication, micromachining, planar electrodes, resistance-capacitance circuit, self-regulated discharging-charging cycle, size 18 mum, spark discharges, spark machining, stainless steel, stainless-steel wafer, voltage 80 V to 140 V

This paper reports a MEMS-based micro-electro-discharge machining technique that is enabled by the actuation of micromachined planar electrodes defined on the surfaces of the workpiece. The 18-mum-thick copper electrodes suspended with the anchors are formed on a stainless-steel wafer/workpiece. A DC voltage of 80-140 V is applied between the electrode and the workpiece through a resistance-capacitance circuit that controls the pulse energy and timing of spark discharges. The suspended electrode is electrostatically actuated towards the wafer, resulting in a breakdown, or spark discharge. This instantly lowers the gap voltage, releasing the electrode, and the capacitor is charged up through the resistor. Sequential pulses are produced through the self-regulated discharging-charging cycle. Micromachining of the stainless-steel wafer is demonstrated using an electrode with the area of 1.6times1.03 mm2, achieving removal depth of 20 mum with 100 V that provides the electrode's displacement of  30 mum. The pulse formation is also implemented using only the parasitic/built-in capacitance between the electrode and the workpiece. A dynamic characteristic of the built-in capacitance is experimentally analyzed.


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