Characteristics of Al alloy surface after EDC with sintered Ti electrode and TiN powder additive

Hsin Jen Chen, Kun Ling Wu, Biing Hwa Yan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Electrical discharge coating (EDC) performs not only machining but also surface modification of workpiece by changing the polarity of the electrode and dielectric medium. As a candidate of metal bipolar plate in proton exchange membrane fuel cell application, machined Al alloy needs surface coating to overcome its poor corrosion resistance. The goal of this study was to investigate the coating characteristics of 6061-T6 aluminum (Al) alloy machined using titanium (Ti)-sintered electrodes in wet and dry EDC. The results show that in wet EDC using cathodic T-8 sintered electrode, both material removal rate (MRR) and tool wear rate (TWR) were kept reasonably low. Discharge current (I p) and pulse duration (T on) are the main determinants of the morphology of the EDCed Al alloy surface. The appropriate parameters for wet EDC are found to be 1 A < I p < 8 A and 9 μs < T on < 100 μs at DF = 27 %. Adding TiN powder to kerosene not only improved the EDCed surface quality but also decreased the coefficient of friction. The formation of a TiC layer on the machined surface prolonged the onset of friction transition, which would in turn enhance the wear resistance of the machined surface. However, no TiN layer was formed during wet EDC. On the other hand, in dry EDC using anodic T-6 and T-8 sintered electrodes, both MRR and TWR were below zero. A pure TiN layer of 20-μm thickness was deposited on the EDCed surface and featured good spallation resistance. The appropriate dry EDC parameters for forming a pure TiN layer on a workpiece surface are found to be 1 A < I p < 30 A and 6 μs < T on < 72 μs at DF = 16 %. From the experimental results of this study, the application of EDC to surface modification during fabrication of the fluid pattern on an Al metal bipolar plate can be expected.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)319-332
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology
Issue number1-4
StatePublished - Apr 2014


  • Coefficient of friction (COF)
  • Dry
  • Electrical discharge coating (EDC)
  • Spallation resistance
  • Ti
  • TiC
  • TiN
  • Wet


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