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MATHEMATICAL MODELING AND STATISTICAL ANALYSIS FOR

ELECTRIC DISCHARGE MACHINING (EDM) OF AL-20% SI-CP CAST METAL


MATRIX COMPOSITE
S. Dhar and R. Purohit
Department of Manufacturing Processes and Automation Engineering, Netaji Subhash Institute of
Technology, Dwarka, New Delhi, India - 110087
E-mail: sushidhar@yahoo.com

Abstract In the past twenty years, materials R&D has shifted from monolithic to composite materials, adjusting to
the global need for reduced weight, low cost, quality, and high performance available readily in structural materials.
Additionally, Researchers are turning to particulate-reinforced aluminum-metal matrix composites (AMCs) because
of their relatively low cost and isotropic properties especially in those applications not requiring extreme loading or
thermal conditions (e.g., automotive components). However, these materials are hard to machine due to the
abrasive nature of the reinforcements present in them. Electrical discharge machining in the past few years has
proved an important process for machining these. The present work evaluates the effect of current (c), pulse-on
time (p) and air gap voltage (v) on metal removal rate (MRR), tool wear rate(TWR), radial over cut(ROC) on
machining of Al-MMC with 20% SiC reinforcement. The experiments were performed in a random order with
three successive trials using a PS LEADER ZNC EDM machine fitted with a copper electrode. 3 level 3 factor full
factorial method has been adopted for analyzing the results. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) has been performed
and graphs are plotted. A quadratic mathematical model has also been developed for the same relating output and
input quantities respectively.

1. INTRODUCTION
The metal matrix composite (MMC) are a type of composite material with at least two constituent
parts, one being a metal and other may be a different metal or another material.When at least three
materials are present, it is called a hybrid composite. MMCs are well known for their superior
mechanical properties over those of un-reinforced alloys. The composite materials are composed of
a metallic base material called matrix, which is reinforced with ceramic fiber, whisker or
particulates that impart a combination of properties not achievable in either of constituents
individually. Al-SiC is an example of this kind in which aluminum acts as matrix reinforced with
SiC particles. In view of difficulties encountered during machining of these composites like high
tool wear and high tooling cost with conventional machining, non-conventional machining
processes such as the electric discharge machining (EDM) are being developed
EDM is a method involving electrical discharges between an electrode and a conductive work piece
in a dielectric fluid. Material is removed from the work piece by a controlled electrical spark
generated in the machines power supply and discharged between an electrode and work piece. The
dielectric fluid becomes ionized during the course of a discharge. As ionization occurs, positively
charged ions strike the work piece, increasing the temperature at the surface of the work piece and
electrode. The temperature is so high at the surface, often reaching more than 10,000 C, that it
causes the work piece to melt or vaporize.
This paper deals with studying the effects of input parameters: Voltage, Current and pulse on time
on Tool wear, Metal removal rate, Radial over cut and taper obtained in the electro discharge

machining of Al-20 wt. % SiC composite. The effects were studied using a 3 level-3 factor full
factorial design. A mathematical model was developed to predict the MRR, TWR and over cut
within the operating region. A statistical analysis to optimize and verify the results was also made.
2. EXPERIMENTAL PROCEDURE
2.1 Machining parameters
Three machining parameters were identified and their levels were fixed as given in the following
table:
Machining Parameter

Symbol

Unit

Level one

Level two

Level three

Current

10

20

30

Pulse-on time
Voltage

Ton
V

s
V

100
40

300
50

500
60

Table 1. Level assignment to various machining parameter

2.2 Response variables


2.2.1 Material removal rate (MRR)
MRR is expressed as the ratio of the difference of weight of the work piece before and after
machining to the machining time.
MRR = (W2-W1)/t

(1)

Where,
W2 is the weight of the work piece before machining,
W1 is the weight of the work piece after machining
t is the machining time
2.2.2 Tool wear rate (TWR)
TWR is expressed as the ratio of the difference of weight of the tool before and after machining to
the machining time.
TWR = (W2-W1)/t

(2)

Where,
W2 is the weight of the tool before machining,
W1 is the weight of the tool after machining, and
t is the machining time
2.2.3 Radial over cut (ROC)
ROC is expressed as half the difference of diameter of the hole produced to the tool diameter, i.e.
ROC = (D2-D)/2

(3)

Where,
D2 is hole diameter at top.
D is the diameter of the tool electrode
2.3 Other Parameters
Al alloy with 20 wt. % silicon carbide particles was drilled using copper electrode on a PS leader
ZNC EDM Machine. Positive polarity was maintained for the work piece and negative polarity for
the tool. Commercial grade kerosene was used as the dielectric fluid and impulse jet flushing was
used to flush away the eroded materials from the sparking zone.
Electrode type
Diameter of electrode
Work piece
Sensitivity
Duty cycle
Tw
T
Pressure during machining

Copper
20 mm.
220mm X 120mm X 7mm
8
7
0.6
1.2
5 psi

Table 2. Miscellaneous Parameters of EDM machine

3. DESIGN OF EXPERIMENT
Experimental methods are widely used in research as well as in industrial settings, however,
sometimes for very different purposes. The primary goal in scientific research is usually to show the
statistical significance of an effect that a particular factor exerts on the dependent variable of
interest. In industrial settings, the primary goal is usually to extract the maximum amount of
unbiased information regarding the factors affecting a production process from as few observations
as possible.
3.1 Three-level full factorial designs
The three-level design is written as a 3k factorial design. It means that k factors are considered, each
at 3 levels. These are (usually) referred to as low, intermediate and high levels. These levels are
numerically expressed as 1,0 and 1. One could have considered the digits 0, 1, and 2 i.e. we can
also use the 0, 1, 2 scheme. The reason that the three-level designs were proposed is to model
possible curvature in the response function and to handle the case of nominal factors at 3 levels. A
third level for a continuous factor facilitates investigation of a quadratic relationship between the
response and the factors.
3.2 The 33 Design
This is a design that consists of three factors, each at three levels. It can be expressed as a 3 x 3 x 3
= 33 design. The model for such an experiment is

where each factor is included as a nominal factor rather than as a continuous variable. In such cases,
main effects have 2 degrees of freedom, two-factor interactions have 22 = 4 degrees of freedom and
k-factor interactions have 2k degrees of freedom. The model contains 2 + 2 + 2 + 4 + 4 + 4 + 8 = 26
degrees of freedom. Note that if there is no replication, the fit is exact and there is no error term (the
epsilon term) in the model. In this no replication case, if one assumes that there are no three-factor
interactions, then one can use these 8 degrees of freedom for error estimation.
In this model we see that i = 1, 2, 3, and similarly for j and k, making 27 treatments.
4. MODELING OF EXPERIMENTS
The purpose of developing the mathematical model relating the response variables and the process
parameters was to facilitate the optimization of the electric discharge machining of aluminum
matrix composites.
The mathematical model commonly used is represented by:
Y = (V, I, T)
Where Y is the response, is the response function and V(gap voltage), I (pulse current) and T
(pulse duration) are the process variables. In this study the model chosen was quadratic in nature
involving linear and quadratic interactions of process variables. A program was written in
MATLAB to obtain the desired model as reported in literature [5].
5. EXPERIMENTAL DATA
The data so observed has been arranged in a tabular form as shown below
s.no

Input
parameters
I
V
Ton

Time
Taken
(min.)

Upper
Dia(d1)
(mm)

Lower
Dia(d2)
(mm)

Tool
wear
(g)

Tool
wear rate
(mm/sec)

ROC

M.R

1.
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12

-1
-1
-1
-1
-1
-1
-1
-1
-1
0
0
0

176
145
126
125
91
71
115
73
48
170
116
100

19.82
19.68
19.72
19.73
19.79
19.94
19.77
19.69
19.96
19.46
19.51
19.59

19.45
19.42
19.47
19.46
19.59
19.51
19.50
19.51
19.48
19.14
19.27
19.13

0.3
0.3
0.2
0.1
0.1
0.2
0.2
0.1
0.1
0.2
0.1
0.3

2.84
3.44
2.64
1.33
1.83
4.69
2.89
2.28
3.47
1.96
1.43
5.00

0.82
0.68
0.72
0.73
0.79
0.94
0.77
0.69
0.96
0.46
0.51
0.59

5.97
5.919
5.946
5.946
6.004
6.025
5.97
5.949
6.022
5.768
5.822
5.804

-1 -1
-1
0
-1
1
0 -1
0
0
0
1
1 -1
1
0
1
1
-1 -1
-1
0
-1
1

M.R.R

56.534
68.034
78.651
79.28
109.96
141.43
86.522
135.82
209.1
56.549
83.649
96.733

13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27

0
0
0
0
0
0
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1

0
0
0
1
1
1
-1
-1
-1
0
0
0
1
1
1

-1
0
1
-1
0
1
-1
0
1
-1
0
1
-1
0
1

285
85
68
115
67
44
115
112
92
96
71
57
72
53
47

19.52
19.59
19.60
19.39
19.54
19.60
19.33
19.40
19.45
19.40
19.56
19.50
19.54
19.57
19.56

19.07
19.13
19.28
19.04
19.16
19.33
19.01
19.01
19.04
18.96
19.15
19.15
19.02
19.21
19.26

0.1
0.1
0.1
0.1
0.2
0.3
0.3
0.2
0.2
0.2
0.2
0.3
0.1
0.1
0.1

0.813
1.96
2.45
1.44
4.97
11.36
4.34
2.97
3.62
3.47
4.69
8.77
2.31
3.144
3.54

0.52
0.59
0.6
0.39
0.54
0.6
0.33
0.4
0.45
0.4
0.56
0.5
0.54
0.57
0.56

5.765
5.804
5.852
5.718
5.798
5.867
5.691
5.712
5.736
5.697
5.801
5.783
5.757
5.822
5.834

33.713
113.8
143.43
82.87
144.23
222.23
82.478
85
103.91
98.906
136.17
169.09
133.26
183.08
206.88

Table 3. Design of Experiments and Output obtained

6. ANALYSIS OF VARIANCE
A factorial ANOVA can examine data that are classified on multiple independent variables. It can
show whether there are significant main effects of the independent variables and whether there are
significant interaction effects between independent variables in a set of data. Interaction effects
occur when the impact of one independent variable depends on the level of the second independent
variable. For the above data related to Material removal rate, Sum of Square (SS) values and Mean
Square (MS) values are calculated and corresponding F and P values obtained.
Degrees of freedom
Source
Regression
9
Residual Error
17
Total
26

SS
60356.6
3298.2
63654.8

MS
6706.3
194.0

F value
34.57

P value
0.000

SS
16.6539
1.1562
17.8101

MS
1.8504
0.0680

F value
27.21

P value
0.000

SS
0.643828
0.037224
0.681052

MS
0.071536
0.002190

F value
32.67

P value
0.000

Table 4. ANOVA table for Material Removal Rate

Degrees of freedom
Source
Regression
9
Residual Error
17
Total
26
Table 5. ANOVA table for Tool Wear Rate

Degrees of freedom
Source
Regression
9
Residual Error
17
Total
26
Table 6. ANOVA table for Radial Over Cut

7. MATHEMATICAL MODELING OF EXPERIMENTS


Let x1, x2, x3 denote the variable values of levels for the factors- Voltage gap (V), Pulse Duration
(Ton) and Current (I ) respectively. Based upon the experimental design the possible values of either
x1, x2 or x3 are 1,0 and 1. The various combination of such sets of readings correspond to a
variety of experiments as shown in Table
With the aid of computer program developed in MATLAB, the mathematical formulae for the
experiments were determined subject to similar work / pressure conditions
TWR = 1.79 + 0.211 * x1 + 0.0908 * x2 + 0.767 * x3 + 0.612 * x1 * x1 + 0.657 * x2 * x2 - 0.053 *
x3 * x3 + 0.111 * x1 * x2 + 0.0633 * x1 * x3 + 0.0700 * x2 * x3
(4)
MRR = 108 + 13.0 * x1 + 38.5 * x2 + 36.7 * x3 + 11.6 * x1* x1 + 3.55 * x2 * x2 - 2.11 x3 * x3
+ 1.97 * x1 * x2 - 3.47 * x1 * x3 + 21.0 * x2 * x3
(5)
ROC = 0.550 - 0.149 * x1 + 0.0422 * x2 + 0.0800 * x3 + 0.106 * x1*x1 - 0.0322 * x2*x2
+ 0.0078 * x3*x3 + 0.0325 * x1*x2 - 0.0183 * x1*x3 + 0.0175 * x2*x3
(6)
8. GRAPHICAL RESULTS
Main effects plot for Material Removal Rate (MRR), Tool Wear Rate (TWR), Radial Over Cut
(ROC) are illustrated below:

Figure 1. Main effects plot of MRR with Voltage Gap, Pulse Duration and Current respectively.

Figure 2. Main effects plot of TWR with Voltage Gap, Pulse Duration and Current respectively.

Figure 3. Main effects plot of ROC with Voltage Gap, Pulse Duration and Current respectively.

9. CONCLUSIONS
9.1 Metal Removal Rate (MRR)
The MRR is found to increase in an almost linear fashion with increase in current for constant gap
voltage and Pulseon time. MRR is also found to increase slightly with increase in Pulse duration
clearly shown in fig. 1 And in agreement with the literature reported in [4].
9.2 Tool Wear Rate (TWR)
TWR is also found to increase with increase in current as high current results in higher thermal
loading on both electrodes (tool and work-piece) leading to higher amount of material being
removed from either. It is found to first decrease and then increase with pulse duration A similar
trend is noticed with Gap Voltage.
9.3 Radial Over Cut (ROC)
From fig 3, it is evident that an increase in current increases the Over Cut. An increase in pulse
duration also increases the Over Cut due to the prolonged presence of sparks. An uncommon
behavior is observed in the case of voltage gap.
REFERENCES
[1] W.S. Lau, T.M. Yue, T.C. Lee and W.B. Lee, Journal of Materials Processing Technology, Vol.
48, 1995, pp.199-205.
[2] R Karthikeyan, G Ganesan, R S Naagarazan, B C Pai, , Journal of Materials Processing
Technology, Vol. 80, 1999.
[3] R Karthikeyan, P.R. Lakshmi Narayanan, R.S. Naagarazan, Journal of Materials Processing
Technology, Vol. 87, 1999, pp. 59-63.
[4] P Narender Singh, K.Raghukandan, M.Rathinasabapathi, B.C. Pai, Journal of Materials
Processing Technology, Vol.155-156, 2004, pp. 1653-1657.
[5] D.C. Montgomery, Design and Analysis of Experiments, fifth edition, Wiley, New York,
2001.