Study of gas film quality in electrochemical discharge machining

Chih Ping Cheng, Kun Ling Wu, Chao Chuang Mai, Cheng Kuang Yang, Yu Shan Hsu, Biing Hwa Yan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


Electrochemical Discharge Machining (ECDM) has been demonstrated to be an alternative spark-based micromachining method for fabricating microholes and microchannels in non-conductive brittle materials. However, the mechanism for attaining accurate control of the contour shape and dimensions remains to be explored. In ECDM process, the gas film on the electrode surface is used as the dielectric medium required for discharge generation. Quality of gas film is the dominant factor that determines the machining qualities such as geometric accuracy, surface roughness and repeatability. Nevertheless, it is difficult to assess the gas film quality of ECDM. In this study, current signals and machined contours were taken as indexes of gas film quality. Experimental results showed that a stable and dense gas film could be obtained when the applied voltage exceeded the critical voltage and reached a specific level, which is called the "transition voltage" in this study. At the transition voltage, a stable electrochemical discharge activity could be generated, thus producing the smallest deviation of contour dimensions. Moreover, when the drilling process reached a certain critical depth, bubbles inside the hole could not easily escape. In order to reduce the interface energy between bubbles, a thicker gas film is formed at the hole entrance, resulting in unstable discharge performance that undermined machining results. In summary, information provided by current signals can shed light on the changes in gas film structure, which serve as useful reference for varying process parameters to achieve better efficiency and accuracy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)689-697
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Machine Tools and Manufacture
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2010


  • ECDM
  • Electrochemical discharge machining
  • Gas film
  • Transition voltage


Dive into the research topics of 'Study of gas film quality in electrochemical discharge machining'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this