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Title: Advancing electrochemical jet machining techniques
Author: Mitchell-Smith, Jonathon
Awarding Body: University of Nottingham
Current Institution: University of Nottingham
Date of Award: 2018
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Electrochemical Jet Processing (EJP) techniques have been traditionally limited in application by the inherent geometric inflexibility and limited process precision in comparison to alternative processes. It has been stated that process resultant geometries are defined by the Gaussian in-jet energy distribution and the hydrodynamic stagnation region formed under a jet on an impinging surface. This thesis reports upon investigations and innovations designed to challenge these assumptions. EJP is an emergent manufacturing process with a unique capability of subtraction and deposition of metals within a common machine tool. EJP demonstrates advantages beyond traditional electrochemical machining and electrochemical deposition including a high degree of flexibility, simplistic and therefore low-cost plant, requiring no complex, high-cost tooling and no masking requirement to achieve high fidelity geometries. These process traits are attractive to industry but EJP has yet to find significant commercial use. Electromechanical and electrochemical innovations are presented here demonstrated by electrochemical jet machining (EJM) the subtractive mode of EJP, which allow modulation of the properties of the inter-electrode gap leading to a paradigm shift in the functionality, precision and application of EJP. Electromechanical innovations demonstrate that the Gaussian energy distribution can be modified through the articulation of the jet angle of address and modified jet nozzles to manipulate the in-jet resistance. The outcome being the capability to produce bespoke removal profiles with increased precision and flexibility of form alongside refined surface finishes. Electrochemical innovations demonstrate an increase in precision through reducing overcut and reducing the feature shoulder radius when using a modified electrolyte. When these electromechanical and electrochemical innovations are coupled together, the overcut traditionally seen to be twice the nozzle diameter is reduced by 99%. Therefore, features can be created at kerfs approaching the nozzle diameter. Alongside this, a bespoke research platform has been built and developed to exploit these findings and incorporate features such as the rotational head for constant profiling and multiplexing of electrolytes to enhance the flexibility of the process. Process enhancements developed through this thesis have allowed the manipulation of the in-jet energy density profile and dissociation of the dissolution region from hydrodynamic phenomena thus allowing surface structuring by EJP to be developed well beyond the state-of-the-art.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: TJ Mechanical engineering and machinery