Examination of wire electrical discharge machining of Al2O 3p/6061Al composites

Biing Hwa Yan, Hsien Chung Tsai, Fuang Yuan Huang, Long Chorng Lee

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Alumina particle reinforced 6061 aluminum matrix composites (Al 2O3p/6061Al) have excellent physical and chemical properties than those of a traditional metal; however, their poor machinability lead to worse surface quality and serious cutting tool wear. In this study, wire electrical discharge machining (WEDM) is adopted in machining Al 2O3p/6061Al composite. In the experiments, machining parameters of pulse-on time were changed to explore their effects on machining performance, including the cutting speed, the width of slit and surface roughness. Moreover, the wire electrode is easily broken during the machining Al2O3p/6061Al composite, so this work comprehensively investigates into the locations of the broken wire and the reason of wire breaking. The experimental results indicate that the cutting speed (material removal rate), the surface roughness and the width of the slit of cutting test material significantly depend on volume fraction of reinforcement (Al 2O3 particles). Furthermore, bands on the machined surface for cutting 20 vol.% Al2O3p/6061Al composite are easily formed, basically due to some embedded reinforcing Al2O 3 particles on the surface of 6061 aluminum matrix, interrupt the machining process. Test results reveal that in machining Al2O 3p/6061Al composites a very low wire tension, a high flushing rate and a high wire speed are required to prevent wire breakage; an appropriate servo voltage, a short pulse-on time, and a short pulse-off time, which are normally associated with a high cutting speed, have little effect on the surface roughness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-259
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Machine Tools and Manufacture
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2005


  • AlO p/6061Al
  • Composites
  • Wire breaking
  • Wire electrical discharge machining


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