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Theoretical and experimental investigation of residual stresses in electric discharge machining

Ekmekçi, Bülent
Electric Discharge Machining (EDM) is a process for eroding and removing material by transient action of electric sparks on electrically conductive materials immersed in a dielectric liquid and separated by a small gap. A spark-eroded surface is a surface with matt appearance and random distribution of overlapping craters. It is mechanically hard and stressed close to ultimate tensile strength of the material and sometimes covered with a network of micro cracks. The violent nature of the process leads a unique structure on the machined surface and generates residual stresses due mainly to the non-homogeneity of heat flow and metallurgical transformations. An extensive experimental study is presented to explore the surface and sub-surface characteristics together with the residual stresses induced by the process. Layer removal method is used to measure the residual stress profile in function of depth beneath. A finite element based model is proposed to determine residual stresses and compared with the experimental results. The residual stress pattern is found to be unchanged with respect to machining parameters. Thus, a unit amplitude shape function representing change in curvature with respect to removal depth is proposed. The proposed form is found as a special form of Gauss Distribution, which is the sum of two Gaussian peaks, with the same amplitude and pulse width but opposite center location that is represented by three constant coefficients. In each case, agreement with the proposed form is established with experimental results. Results have shown that these coefficients have a power functional dependency with respect to released energy.