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International Journal of Machine Tools & Manufacture 47 (2007) 920–926


Finishing effects of spiral polishing method on micro lapping surface$

Biing-Hwa Yana,, Hsinn-Jyh Tzengb, Fuang Yuan Huanga,
Yan-Cherng Linc, Han-Ming Chowc
Department of Mechanical Engineering, National Central University, Chung-Li, Taiwan 32054, ROC
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Southern Taiwan University of Technology, Tainan, Taiwan 71005, ROC
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Nan Kai Institute of Technology, Nantou, Taiwan 54210, ROC
Received 12 April 2006; received in revised form 25 July 2006; accepted 31 July 2006
Available online 10 October 2006


This study presents a spiral polishing method and a device for micro-finishing purposes. This novel finishing process has wider
application than traditional processes. This offers both automation and flexibility in final machining operations for deburring, polishing,
and removing recast layers, thereby producing compressive residual stresses even in difficult to reach areas. Applying of this method can
obtain a fine polished surface by removing tiny fragments via a micro lapping generated by transmission of an abrasive medium through
a screw rod. The effect of the removal of the tiny fragments can be achieved due to the function of micro lapping. The method is not
dependent on the size of the work-piece’s application area in order to carry out the ultra precise process. The application of this research
can be extended to various products of precision ball-bearing lead screw. The proposed method produces products with greater precision
and more efficiently than traditional processes, in terms of processing precisions and the surface quality of products. These parameters
used in achieving maximum material removal rate (MRR) and the lowest surface roughness (SR) are abrasive particle size, abrasive
concentration, gap, revolution speed and machining time.
r 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Spiral polishing method; Micro-finishing; Material removal rate (MRR); Surface roughness (SR)

1. Introduction efficiency and accuracy methods has become an important

research topic. The most important method is the applica-
In recent years, the demand of precision products has tions of polishing surfaces using abrasive flow machining
become variedly. The researches of the polishing techni- (AFM). Gorana et al. [1] studied the influence of
ques are numerous. The spiral polishing method is one of controllable variables, extrusion pressure, abrasive con-
the applications of the techniques such as the manufacture centration and grain size on material removal, surface
and production of aerospace components, vehicles trans- roughness, cutting forces and active grain density using
mission, the automotive parts, the bio-medicines, the dyes AFM. Jain et al. [2–4] suggested that the effect of different
and high-volume electronic parts, the finishing of precision process parameters, such as abrasive concentration, abra-
ball-bearing screws and so on. These parts are not easy to sive mesh size and media flow speed, on material removal
polish, and also lean towards small, complex shapes, highly rate (MRR) and surface finish. Heat transfer in AFM has
précised products, especially the components with the also been analyzed with a focus on heat flowing to the
transmission precision guide screw or the complex super- work-piece and medium. Furthermore, the specific energy
ficial micro spiral line. The technology of providing high and tangential force according to machining parameters of
AFM were also drawn. Yamaguchi et al. [5] examined the
$ microscopic changes in the surface texture resulting from
This paper has not been published nor has it been submitted for
publication elsewhere.
processing. In addition to the surface roughness measure-
Corresponding author. Tel.: +886 3 4267353; fax: +886 3 4254501. ment, atomic force and scanning electron microscopy were
E-mail address: bhyen@cc.ncu.edu.tw (B.-H. Yan). used to characterize the material removal process and

0890-6955/$ - see front matter r 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
B.-H. Yan et al. / International Journal of Machine Tools & Manufacture 47 (2007) 920–926 921

provide a fundamental understanding of the process less and removes more material thereby obtaining better
mechanism. Jha et al. [6] showed that the magnetorheolo- result in terms of accuracy and precision than the method
gical abrasive flow finishing (MRAFF) process provides of AFM.
better control over rheological properties of abrasive laden
magnetorheological finishing medium. Singh et al. [7–10] 2. Experimental apparatus and procedure
elucidated the effect of magneto AFM on the surface
roughness and the MRR. The parameters of material 2.1. Experimental apparatus
removal were optimized and the surface roughness was
reduced by applying the magneto AFM process in the A schematic diagram of experimental apparatus is
Taguchi experimental design and ANOVA. shown in Fig. 2. The experimental apparatus for the micro
Kuriyagawa et al. [11] investigated the electrorheological abrasive medium with a spiral polishing method utilizes the
fluid-assisted micro-spherical generator system which is fixed rotating screw to take up the abrasive medium along
capable of micro-grinding and micro-polishing on the same with the screw’s spiral groove. Fig. 2(a) displays the
machine, and demonstrated the excellent polishing perfor- experimental setup. Fig. 2(b) depicts the fixture of
mance of small area after grinding process. Jain et al. [12] experimental setup. The abrasive medium contacts the
also established the use of neural network for modeling and work-piece directly during this action. The abrasive
optimal selection of input parameters of AFM process. medium thus removes tiny fragments and debris from the
However, these existed methods employ affiliated pistons work-piece surface. The required apparatus was assembled
to impel the abrasive medium and make the straight in such manner that it is a closed system. During apparatus
reciprocating main motion. It is difficult to process the operation the abrasive medium taken up by the screw did
complex surface. The abrasive medium migration is slow as not escape but was able to be re-circulated back to the
well. Comparing with the micro abrasive medium with original source for reuse. Operating with high speeds, the
spiral polishing method, the existed methods are poor at rotating screw polishes the work-piece surface. The
the processing efficiency. abrasive medium is forced against the internal surface of
The solution to these problems is the micro abrasive the work-piece by the rotating screw. This abrasive
medium with spiral polishing method as a process of finish medium is ideal for method of polishing and micro
machining (polishing, deburring, residual edge removal, finishing.
etc.), lengthens the product life, and can effectively remove
the fragments, and reduce the surface roughness. Thus, the 2.2. Experimental material
surface of the hole can be quickly and effectively polished,
and the results of previous polishing improved. Therefore, The essential properties of alloy steel given in Table 1
this investigation aims to develop a new method with spiral were used as the work-piece material displayed in Fig. 3.
polishing, specially suited for the complex surface of the The slurry consisted of SiC abrasive grains and polymer,
precise transmission part, bio-medicine engineering or wax and silicone carrier oil used as the machining medium.
defense military purpose of components, such as the ball- The mixture of polymer, wax and silicone oil is mixed with
bearing lead screw, bio-medicine of micro channel to inject abrasive grains 12, 30 and 150 mm. The initial abrasive
the mold, the skeleton of tiny fixed needle or the gun tube medium is similar to a high viscosity gel but has better
of screw barrel rifling. condensation characteristics as shown in Fig. 4.
A schematic diagram of the spiral-lapping mechanism is
shown in Fig. 1. This investigation applies a high-speed 2.3. Procedure
spiral revolution to make the abrasive media flown and
circulated around the work-piece during the polishing These were adopted to explore the effects of the
process. Fig. 1(a) displays the interaction among the screw, parameters, including abrasive grain size (D), abrasive
work-piece and abrasive media before machining. Fig. 1(b) concentration (C), gap (G), revolution speed (R), and
depicts the abrasive media flow condition involved during machining time (T) affect experimentally observed
machining process. When operating the screw with either values. Furthermore, the surface roughness and MRR of
high or low revolution speed, the abrasive medium will be the hole were chosen as the experimentally observed values
taken up by the spiral groove of the screw. As a result of to determine the effects of machining on finishing efficiency
this action, the abrasive medium comes in direct contact of finishing. The experimental conditions are shown in
with the work-piece. The distance the abrasive medium Table 2. Improvements in SR, MRR, working tempera-
moves across the surface of the work-piece is farther than ture, and medium viscosity, as well as observations were
that for the method of AFM. Compared with the simple recorded.
‘‘back and forth’’ method in the AFM, this is the result of
the spiral rotation when the abrasive medium moves across 3. Results and discussion
the work-piece surface. This spiral polishing method also
homogenously polished the work-piece surface whereas the The spiral polishing is applied for micro finishing using
method of AFM is not uniform. The abrasive medium cost an abrasive medium. This abrasive medium is not removed
922 B.-H. Yan et al. / International Journal of Machine Tools & Manufacture 47 (2007) 920–926

Fig. 1. A schematic diagram of spiral lapping mechanism. (a) The interaction among the screw, work-piece and abrasive media before machining and (b)
the abrasive media flow condition involved during machining process.

by cutting tools or grinding wheels. Therefore, the primary decrease significantly with machining time. For various of
precision factor of precision is the use of a loose abrasive abrasive particle sizes of 150, 30 or 12 mm, the medium
medium rather than cutting tools or grinding wheels. The viscosity reduces as machining time increases, it indicates
ability of the abrasive medium in the process to finished that fluidity and stickiness of the abrasive medium are
areas is governed by various factors, such as abrasive suitable for micro surface machining.
particle size, abrasive concentration, gap, revolution speed Fig. 5 reveals the variation in average apparent viscosity
and machining time. To further understand the influence of with revolution speed and machining time. Increasing the
this parameter, the experimental results are further machining time leads to decrease the viscosity and improve
discussed below. the fluidity. The viscosity of the medium also decreases
with an increasing revolution speed due to its strong effect
3.1. Relationship between MRR and surface precision on on the medium’s initial viscosity, resulting in the modula-
machining conditions tion of the fluidity of medium. Although the efficiency of
material removal is decreased, the superficial lapping state
3.1.1. Relationship between medium viscosity and machining could be reached since the lower removing speed is owing
time to its insufficient bounding forces. The micro finishing
The initial viscosity is influenced by the abrasive particle ability of abrasive fluid is strengthened, leading to super
size, and concentration which has a high viscosity that precision and also excellent surface roughness.
B.-H. Yan et al. / International Journal of Machine Tools & Manufacture 47 (2007) 920–926 923

Fig. 3. A schematic diagram of work-piece.

Fig. 4. Graph of initial abrasive medium (12 mm, 50%).

Table 2
Fig. 2. A schematic diagram of experimental apparatus: (a) Experimental
Experimental conditions
setup and (b) fixture.
Machining parameters Description

Table 1 Abrasive particle size (mm), D 12, 30, 150

Essential properties of work-piece material Concentration (%), C 30, 40, 50
Gap (mm), G 0.5, 0.8, 1
Items Description Revolution speed (rpm), R 600, 800, 1000
Machining time (min), T 30, 45, 60, 75, 90
Material Alloy steel
Dimension (mm) 30.7 OD  7.6 mm ID  8 mm H
Tensile strength (MPa) 880–1030
increases to 120 min due to the viscosity of medium
Yield strength (MPa) 785–930
Impact (Kg-m/cm2) 8 decreased as time increases, and leads to the dust or the
Elongation (%) 12 ashes easily remained in abrasive medium. The tiny
Hardness HRc 27–28 fragments from the slurry are likely to spread the surface.

3.1.3. Effects of abrasive concentration on surface roughness

3.1.2. Effects of abrasive particle on surface roughness Fig. 7 demonstrates the variation in surface roughness
Fig. 6 shows the variation in surface roughness for for different concentrations and machining times. At the
different abrasive particle and machining time. Machining abrasive particle size 12 mm, abrasive concentration 50%,
with small abrasive particle of 12 mm at a concentration of because actual participation in the abrasion processing
50% and machining time of 90 min improves surface needs the quantity to be more, and machining time to be
roughness. The surface finish worsens as machining time increased, the situation is suitable for improvement effect
924 B.-H. Yan et al. / International Journal of Machine Tools & Manufacture 47 (2007) 920–926

1.6 of the hole inside. Moreover, the use of slurry that

consisted of SiC abrasive and medium had low viscosity
Average apparent viscosity ( kN.sm-2)

abrasive particle size: 12µm

concentration: 50%
and high fluidity, so it was easy to pass through the hole of
gap:0.5mm machined surface. However, a high concentration (50%)
600rpm and small SiC (12 mm) in medium are associated with better
800rpm surface roughness. The surface quality is improved under
1.4 1000rpm conditions of a small gap (0.5 mm) and high revolution
0.65 speeds (1000 rpm).
0.45 3.1.4. Relationship between MRR and medium temperature
0.40 Fig. 8 reveals the variation in MRR and temperature for
0.35 different revolution speed. Experimentally measured in-
0.25 creases in temperature are all below 5 1C, the increase in
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 110 120 130
MRR at various revolution speed at a given abrasive
Machining time (min)
particle and concentration. The MRR increased from a
Fig. 5. Variation in average apparent viscosity with revolution speed and 0.0533 mg/min of 600 rpm to 0.0651 mg/min when abrasive
machining time. particle was 12 mm with 50% concentration, revolution
speed of 1000 rpm, gap of 0.5 mm and 90 min of machining
time. However, the material removal caused by the smaller
abrasive particle (12 mm) is less, therefore, machining
0.26 temperature did not vary significantly in relation to the
0.24 medium temperature, regardless of particle size, concentra-
0.22 concentration: 50% tion, gap, revolution speed and machining time.
revolution speed: 1000rpm
Surface roughness Ra (µm)

gap: 0.5mm
0.18 12µm 3.1.5. Effects of gap and revolution speed on surface
0.16 30µm roughness
150µm As the machining gap narrows, the gap between the
0.12 work-piece and the screw becomes filled with abrasive
0.10 particles. Therefore, the abrasive grinding clearly removed
0.08 the stock material to finish the hole. Thus, as machining
time increased, the machined quality of the hole improved.
The improvement in the surface roughness with a gap of
0.5 mm increased with the same abrasive particle size and
0 15 30 45 60 75 90 105 120 135 concentration. Roughness improved from a 0.23 mm
Machining time (min) initially to 0.05 mm Ra as displayed in Fig. 9.
Fig. 10 presents the variation in surface roughness for
Fig. 6. Variation in surface roughness for different abrasive particles and
different revolution speeds and machining times. By
machining times.
machining using high and low revolution speeds at
machining conditions, superficial finishing improves at
0.24 0.50 9
abrasive particle size: 12µm abrasive particle size: 12µm
0.22 0.45 8
revolution speed: 1000rpm concentration: 50%
Material removal rate (mg/min)
Surface roughness Ra (µm)

0.20 30%
gap: 0.5mm 0.40 machining time: 90min
Rise in temperature(°C)

40% gap: 0.5mm Rise in temperature

0.18 0.35
50% Material removal rate 6
0.14 5
0.12 4
0.08 0.15
0.10 2
0.04 0.05 1
0.02 0.00 0
0 15 30 45 60 75 90 105 120 135 600 800 1000
Machining time (min) Revolution speed (RPM)

Fig. 7. Variation in surface roughness for different concentrations and Fig. 8. Variation in material removal rate and temperature for different
machining times. revolution speed.
B.-H. Yan et al. / International Journal of Machine Tools & Manufacture 47 (2007) 920–926 925

0.26 0.50 0.10

abrasive particle: 12µm- 50%
0.24 0.45 re volution speed: 1000 rpm

Material removal rate (mg/min)

0.22 abrasive particle size: 12µm 0.40 gap : 0.5mm

Surface roughness Ra (µm)

concentration: 50% 0.08
Surface roughness Ra µm)

revolution speed: 1000rpm 0.35 initial surface roughness: 0.23µm
0.18 1mm 0.07
0.30 MRR
0.8mm SR
0.16 0.25
0.5mm 0.06
0.12 0.05
0.10 0.04
0.05 0.03
0.00 0.02
0.04 30 60 90
0.02 Machining time (min)
0 15 30 45 60 75 90 105 120 135
Machining time (min) Fig. 11. Variation in material removal rate and surface roughness for
different machining times.
Fig. 9. Variation in surface roughness for different gap and machining

0.22 abrasive particle size: 12µm
concentration: 50%
Surface roughness Ra (µm)

0.20 600rpm
gap: 0.5mm
0.18 800rpm
0 15 30 45 60 75 90 105 120 135
Machining time (min)

Fig. 10. Variation in surface roughness for different revolution speeds and
machining times.

1000 rpm, the abrasive particle at higher revolution speed

of screw more strongly abrades the surface.
Fig. 11 depicts the variation in MRR and surface
roughness for different machining time. The MRR is less
while using these small abrasive with highly concentrated
medium. As machining time increases, the MRR is
increased, and surface roughness is reduced further.
However, machining worsen the coherence of abrasive
particles, reducing medium viscosity and facilitating Fig. 12. SEM micrographs of surface: (a) Before machining,
fluidity. Although the smaller grit was covered by the Ra ¼ 0.23 mm, (b) after machining, 1000 rpm, Ra 0.06 mm (12 mm—
medium, but machining clearly affected surface roughness. 50%—60 min).
The surface can be improved using the smaller abrasive
particles at the machining time 90 min.
Increasing machining time also improves surface rough-
3.2. Surface morphology ness. Tool marks become visible at high concentration
50% and revolution speeds with a machining time of
Experimental results indicate that the processing is 60 min. At revolution speed of 1000rpm, the traces are
enhanced when using smaller abrasive particles, higher more obvious and more abrasive marks, which is shown in
abrasive medium concentration and revolution speed. Fig. 12(b). Roughness improved from an 0.23 mm initially
926 B.-H. Yan et al. / International Journal of Machine Tools & Manufacture 47 (2007) 920–926

to 0.06 mm Ra. However, improvement to surface rough- supporting this research under Contract No. NSC 93-2212-
ness while using 12 mm particles increased. E- 008-021.

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