An innovative electrochemical-mechanical grinding approach for creating high quality curved surfaces

Principal investigator: Burak Ozdoganlar

University: Carnegie Mellon University

Industry partners: Oberg Industries, Inc.

Emerging advanced manufacturing processes offer unique capabilities to create complex parts that can have a tremendous impact in their functionality. However, obtaining required surface quality on those curved and complex parts bring considerable challenges that cannot be addressed effectively with the prevailing finishing processes. To address this challenge, in this project, we propose an innovative and unique deformable electrochemical-mechanical grinding (ECMG) approach for grinding (and polishing) of complex and curved surfaces. The proposed hybrid material removal approach brings tremendous, synergistic advantages, including little-to-no process forces, high material removal rates, and applicability to any conductive material (e.g., titanium alloys, nickel superalloys). Uniquely, instead of using a traditional, inflexible grinding wheel, we propose to use an inflatable and/or elastic tooling that will conform to the surface to be finished. To this end, our project objectives are (1) to demonstrate the feasibility of the deformable/inflatable-tool based electrochemical-mechanical grinding process, and (2) to perform experimental analyses to relate the process parameters to resulting process metrics (material removal rate and surface finish) for a range of high-value part materials. Our approach to address these objective will include (a) design and fabricate the deformable elastic ECMG tools, and (b) experimental investigations on deformable ECMG process using the elastic tools. This project involves a close collaboration between Carnegie Mellon University and Oberg Industries, Inc., which will, which will provide the technical expertise and practical know-how on the ECMG process. Importantly, the experimental studies will be conducted at Oberg’s manufacturing facilities at Freeport, PA. We expect the proposed deformable/elastic ECMG process will bring many exciting advances to a range of applications.