Effect of adding SiC powder on surface quality of quartz glass microslit machined by WECDM

Kuan Yuan Kuo, Kun Ling Wu, Cheng Kuang Yang, Biing Hwa Yan

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44 Scopus citations


Quartz, being hard and brittle, is difficult to machine. Although good machining effects of quartz have been achieved by wire electrochemical discharge machining (WECDM), the surface quality of microslits obtained needs to be enhanced and higher machining precision is desired. To attain improvement in quartz machining, this study performs WECDM under titrated electrolyte flow with the addition of silicon carbide (SiC) powder. On the one hand, titrated electrolyte can facilitate rapid replenishment of the electrolyte, which contributes to maintain the stability of the insulating gas film, thus ensuring frequent and steady electrical discharge for better machining precision. On the other hand, the SiC powder added can help polish the finished workpiece for surface quality enhancement. Experiments are conducted to determine the appropriate machining parameters and to explore the processing mechanisms involved. Comparison in terms of machining precision and surface quality is made for WECDM conducted with and without additives. Experimental results show that better surface roughness and precision of microslits can be obtained with brass wire electrodes of 150 μm diameter and SiC powder of 11 μm at 5 wt%. The addition of abrasive SiC powder helped decrease surface roughness from 1.13 to 0.22 μm, an improvement in surface quality by 80 %. Moreover, the mean slit width was also reduced from 200 to 185 μm. Hence, WECDM of quartz glass under titrated electrolyte with SiC powder added to the electrolyte can indeed enhance surface quality and precision of the microslit. Moreover, not only does such approach use less electrolyte, but also it incurs lower cost and less pollution, making it cost effective and environmental friendly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-83
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology
Issue number1-4
StatePublished - Apr 2015


  • Microslit
  • Quartz
  • SiC
  • Surface roughness


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