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Available online at www.sciencedirect.com ScienceDirect Procedia Manufacturing 26 (2018) 454–461

Available online at www.sciencedirect.com

ScienceDirect

Procedia Manufacturing 26 (2018) 454–461

ScienceDirect Procedia Manufacturing 26 (2018) 454–461 www.elsevier.com/locate/procedia 46th SME North American

www.elsevier.com/locate/procedia

46th SME North American Manufacturing Research Conference

Observation analysis of arc plasma channel developing and expansion behavior in single arc discharging

Yingmou Zhu a , Ahmad Farhadi a , Lin Gu a, , Xiaoming Kang a , Wansheng Zhao a

a State Key Laboratory of Mechanical System and Vibration,School of Mechanical Engineering, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai

200240,China

Abstract

Arc plasma channel developing and expansion behavior was investigated based on experimental observation and theory analysis in this research. Images of arc plasma channel of a single arc discharging were recorded in definite time steps using a high-speed camera. Observing results indicated that the arc plasma channel developing can be divided into three subsequent stages, ignition, expansion and stabilization. Moreover, the diameter and length of arc plasma channel were studied to make a better understanding of expansion evolution in arc discharging process. In order to analyse the mechanism of arc plasma expansion behavior, the discharge waveforms and the erosion of needle electrode were researched. At last, an empirical formulation of plasma diameter in arc discharging process was deduced based on the observation results and previous researches.

© 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. Peer-review under responsibility of the scientific committee of the 46th SME North American Manufacturing Research Conference.

Keywords: Arc plasma channel; Expansion behavior; Arc discharging; Observation experiment; Plasma diameter formulation

1. Introduction

Electrical discharge machining (EDM) and arc dis- charging machining (including electrical arc machining and blasting erosion arc machining) are two kinds of im- portant and widely used non-traditional electrical meth- ods due to their non-contact thermal material removal mechanism. During these arc discharging processes, the amount of the removed workpiece electrode is de- termined by the diameter of heat source(i.e. arc plasma) and the energy distributed to the workpiece [1].

Nomenclature

EDM Electrical discharge machining

LTE

local thermodynamic equilibrium

Corresponding author. Tel.: +86-021-34206951 ; fax: +86-021-

34206951.

E-mail address: lgu@sjtu.edu.cn

In recent years, the discharge energy distribution ra-

tio to the anode and cathode in EDM process has been

fully developed by Xia et al. [2] and Harminder. S [3].

Meanwhile, in arc discharging field, Zhang et al. [4] also studied the energy distribution to workpiece and

material during electrical arc machining (EAM). How- ever, although diameter of heat source is also important

in fully understanding the mechanism of EDM and arc

discharging, literatures about the diameter of arc plasma

channel and its expansion process are few. Up to now, the arc plasma diameter is treated as e-

qual to the discharge crater diameter [5]. Based on this, some empirical formulations of plasma diameter in ED-

M were given from experimental results [6,7]. How-

ever, further studies showed that the plasma diameter

and the discharge crater diameter were not equal. Nat-

su et al. [8] observed the discharge plasma to inves-

tigate and measure its diameter in EDM with a high- speed video camera, and their experimental results indi- cated that the plasma diameter is several times greater than that of discharge craters. Afterwards, in order to decrease the error caused by light-emitting region pho-

2351-9789 © 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. Peer-review under responsibility of the scientific committee of the 46th SME North American Manufacturing Research Conference.

10.1016/j.promfg.2018.07.053

Yingmou Zhu et al. / Procedia Manufacturing 26 (2018) 454–461

455

tographed on camera, A. Kojima [1] proposed a spec- troscopic measurement method to measure the plasma diameter in EDM. Their research also showed that the plasma diameter was five times larger than the crater diameter in EDM. However, though some researchers have studied and measured the plasma diameter in ED- M process, there is few literature to study the diameter expansion of the plasma in arcing process. In this research, the observation of arc plasma chan- nel developing and expansion behavior during a single arc discharging was carried out to clarify plasma arc channel expansion evolution throughout the pulse du- ration. Images of plasma arc channel were recorded us- ing a high speed ICCD camera. Based on these images, a logic connection between plasma evolution and the discharge time was investigated. Moreover, discharge waveform was recorded to enhance analysis of the plas- ma arc channel expansion behavior. The erosion of nee- dle electrode was studied to better understand the mech- anism of sustaining voltage variation. At last, an empir- ical formulation was deducted based on these findings and previous studies.

2. Experimental setup and procedure

2.1. Experimental setup

Observing the behavior of arc plasma channel devel- oping and expansion in a real machining condition is quite di cult. Therefore, observation experiment was carried out using a single electrical arc discharge equip- ment. Figure 1 shows experimental setup of single elec- trical arc discharge observation system. As shown in Fig.1, experimental setup includes arc discharging subsystem and observation subsystem. In the arc discharging subsystem, a pair of needle-plate electrodes was implemented to achieve a clear high- speed camera view. In this experiment, the material of needle electrode is copper. The shape of needle elec- trode is 2 mm -diameter-cylinder, and its head is tapered tip. Besides, the material of plate workpiece is die s- teel, and the size of workpiece is 30 × 15 × 7 . 5mm . A vertical direction feeding mechanism was used to con- trol the gap between the needle-plate electrodes. The arc discharging energy is supplied by a pulsed power generator. In the observation subsystem, an XXRapid- Frame 4-frame high-speed ICCD camera and an oscil- loscope with trigger function was utilized to record the images. The high-speed camera consists of four inde- pendent ICCD units to facilitate image capturing and the minimum exposure time of each ICCD is 200 ps .

Besides, the interval time between each ICCD unit can be set according to the user and experimental require- ment to achieve a reasonable and desired interval time between each image. A Nikon macro lens was attached to the camera for a great magnification of discharge as well as better clearance of photos. Besides, the oscillo- scope was applied to record the discharge waveforms as well as trigger the camera.

2.2. Experimental procedure

In air dielectric, discharge does not occur unless the gap distance is decreased to less than tens of microm- eters. When the gap distance reaches the critical val- ue, a single arc discharging is performed by applying the voltage between the two electrodes. During this process, a servo motor is used for decreasing gap dis- tance while power supply remains on. This mechanism ensures electric breakdown. After breakdown, the dis- charge voltage drops and current increases to the setting value sharply. The time of voltage drop between the needle and plate electrode was set to 0 and this voltage drop is used to trigger the camera in the experiment. The single arc discharge experiment was conducted according to the conditions listed in Table 1. The exper- iment results focus on arc plasma channel developing and expansion behavior. In order to obtain the instanta- neous arc plasma image, the exposure time of each CCD was set to 100 ns in this research.

Table 1. Single arc discharge experimental parameters

Parameters

Values

Needle polarity Open voltage [ V ] Pulse duration [ms ] Peak current [ A ]

Negative

90

10

500

3. Results and discussion

By means of a high-speed camera, the arc plasma channel developing and expansion behavior can be ob- served and captured as shown in Fig. 2. Outline of needle-plate electrodes is marked on the first image to better understanding the plasma channel develop- ing process. Preliminary experiments showed that the developing speed of plasma channel expansion behav- ior was di erent throughout the whole pulse duration.

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Zhu et al. / Procedia Manufacturing 26 (2018) 454–461 Fig. 1. Experimental setup Therefore, in order

Fig. 1. Experimental setup

Therefore, in order to better record the developing char- acteristic of plasma channel, the interval time of the images was set di erent for di erent stages in this re- search. As listed in Table. 2, it is the interval time of each image at di erent time stages.

Table 2. Single arc discharge experimental parameters

Time range ( µ s)

Interval time ( µ s )

[0 , 100) [100 , 400) [400 , 1000) [1000 , 3000) [3000 , 10000)

50

100

200

500

1000

3.1. Observation of arc plasma expansion

Figure 2 showed the arc plasma developing and ex- pansion behavior generated by 500 A current. As can be observed, arc plasma channel developing and expan- sion behavior was significant during the whole pulse du- ration. At 0 time, the discharge is beginning to break- down and the image is completely black due to the dark background and short exposure time. In order to better describe the arc plasma developing and expansion be- havior, the whole arc discharging process can be divid- ed into three stages: plasma diameter expansion, plas- ma entirety expansion and plasma stabilization. For the

arc plasma generated by this discharge condition, the plasma diameter expansion can be regarded as the time from 0 to 300 µ s, and the plasma entirety expansion can be considered as the time from 300 µ s to 5000 µ s. At last, the plasma stabilization stage is also regarded as the time after 5000 µ s. Generally, the plasma diameter near the workpiece is studied priority in arc discharg- ing due to it relates to the workpiece material removal and crater diameter. Hence, the diameter of plasma ar- c channel in this research refers to the plasma diameter adjacent to the workpiece, and it is also the maximum diameter of the plasma channel. According to Fig 2, in plasma diameter expansion stage, the arc plasma channel diameter increases obvi- ously while its length almost remains stable. The plas- ma channel diameter is about 1.6 mm at 50 µ s. Then, plasma channel develops rapidly and its diameter reach- es to 2.4 mm at 100 µ s. At last, the plasma channel di- ameter is about 4.4 mm at 300 µ s. Moreover, the shape of arc plasma develops to a cone-shape from an irreg- ular one, while the length of plasma channel is about 1.0 mm at this stage. During the plasma entirety ex- pansion, the diameter and length of plasma channel are both increased whilst its shape still remains a regular cone-shape. Comparing the images from the time of

400 µ s to 1000 µ s, the diameter and length of plasma

channel increase slowly as the discharge process con-

tinues. For example, diameter and length of plasma channel are about 4.7 mm and 1.1 mm respectively at

400 µ s, while, until to the time of 1000 µ s, its diame-

ter and length are still only 5.4 mm and 1.4 mm respec-

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Zhu et al. / Procedia Manufacturing 26 (2018) 454–461 457 Fig. 2. Arc plasma expansion behavior

Fig. 2. Arc plasma expansion behavior generated by 500A current

tively. However, after the time of 1000 µ s, the growth speed of plasma channels diameter and length increase suddenly. As shown in Fig. 2, the plasma diameter reaches to about 7.3 mm at the time of 4000 µ s, and its length also increases to 3.0 mm which is much larger than the discharge gap distance even the initial arc plas- ma length. Besides, during this stage, the length of arc plasma increases continuously. The reasons which lead

to the length expansion of plasma channel are not on- ly the plasma itself evolution, but also the enlarged gap distance. The reason of enlarged gap distance will be analyzed in following section. From the time of 5000 µ s to 10000 µ s , the arc plasma can be considered as reach- ing a steady state due to the relatively stability plasma channel present in this stage.

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3.2. Analysis of plasma expansion behavior

As mentioned above, arc plasma channel develop-

ing gone through three di erent stages. In order to fur- ther research the characteristics of those stages, wave- forms of discharge current and voltage were recorded as shown in Fig. 3. At the beginning of arc discharging, it takes time to reach the discharge current to the setting value (500 A). According to Fig. 3, the current increasing stage is about 250µ s to 300 µ s . During this time, the curren- t increasing can induce the plasma channel developing, resulting in plasma channel diameter expansion in this stage. After that time, the discharge current remain-

s constant until to the end of discharge. During plas-

ma entirely expansion stage, though the discharge cur- rent remains stable, the plasma channel develops con- tinuously with discharge time due to plasma evolution. The high temperature arc plasma ionizes the dielectric around plasma channel to enlarge the plasma arc col-

umn. However, when the arc plasma reaches to a local thermodynamic equilibrium (LTE) state, it maintains a steady state. As analyzing the discharge voltage, it drops to 27V from the open circle voltage (90 V ) at the instant of dis- charge breakdown. The voltage during discharge stage

is defined as the sustaining voltage. However, as shown

in Fig. 3, the sustaining voltage is increased from 27

V to 40 V throughout the arc discharging. This special phenomenon isn’t reported in traditional EDM before,

and it is also indicated that arc discharging is charac- teristic by the di erent internal mechanism compare to EDM. During the arc discharging, the sustaining voltage

is mainly determined by the discharge condition and gap

distance. While, the discharge condition can be regard- ed as the same in a single arc discharging. Therefore, the increase of sustaining voltage is mainly contributed by the enlarged gap distance. In order to further study this phenomenon, the erosion of needle electrode during this discharge is taken into consideration. As shown in Fig. 4, it is the schematic diagram of the gap distance enlargement process. The needle electrode erosion lead to the length loss of electrode, which results in the gap distance enlarged. Moreover, in order to verify this explanation, the ero- sion shape of needle electrode at each time is present in Fig. 5. As can be observed, the length loss of needle electrode increases significantly with the discharge time continuing. Compare to electrode initial shape, only the tip of needle electrode is eroded at the time of 2 ms . While, as the discharge duration increases to 8 ms or 10

ms , the needle electrode is severely erosion, and the top of electrode is almost lost. Therefore, the length loss of needle electrode lead to the increasement of gap dis- tance. As a result, the raising of gap distance results in the increase of sustaining voltage.

4. Diameter of arc plasma channel

As mentioned above, the research of arc plasma ex- pansion behavior and plasma diameter developing are very useful since they reflect the heat source distribu- tion of the plasma channel to the workpiece. However, due to both EDM and arc discharging are stochastic and complex process, it is challenging to calculate plasma diameter accurately and according to pure theory. As an alternative, an empirical formulation can be developed by measuring the plasma diameter in experiment. As it is shown in Eq. (1), Wang et al. [9] introduced an em- pirical formulation to describe the plasma diameter in arc burning freely in air.

D = 260 × I 0. 5 ( µ m)

(1)

Where D is the plasma diameter in arc burning freely and I is the discharge current. However, this empirical formulation is only suitable to calculate the plasma di- ameter in a stable condition, but arc plasma diameter under developing condition isn’t considered in this for- mulation. Besides, due to the arc plasma generated by two di erent conditions (arc burning and arc discharg- ing), those two plasma diameters even under steady s- tate may be also di erent. In order to apply this formulation to arc discharg- ing, two correction factors can be put forward to revise the empirical formulation. Firstly, a constant correc- tion factor, λ, is introduced to revise the plasma diame- ter of steady state between two dierent conditions. In addition, due to the arc plasma developing and expan- sion behaviour during pulse duration, a time-dependent function f (t ) is also introduced to consider the eect of discharge duration on plasma diameter. Thus, the em- pirical formulation in arc discharging can be given as follow:

D p = λ · f ( t ) · D

(2)

Where D p is the plasma diameter in arc discharging, λ is the conditional correction coe cient, f ( t ) is a time- dependent function and D is the plasma diameter empir- ical formulation of arc burning freely in air.

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Zhu et al. / Procedia Manufacturing 26 (2018) 454–461 459 Fig. 3. Discharge waveform of discharge

Fig. 3. Discharge waveform of discharge current and voltage

Fig. 3. Discharge waveform of discharge current and voltage Fig. 4. Schematic diagram of the gap

Fig. 4. Schematic diagram of the gap distance enlargement process: (a) Initial gap distance, (b) and (c) Enlarged gap distance, (d) Final gap distance

(b) and (c) Enlarged gap distance, (d) Final gap distance Fig. 5. The erosion shape of

Fig. 5. The erosion shape of needle electrode at each time: (a) Initial shape, (b) 2 ms (c) 4 ms , (d) 6 ms , (e) 8 ms , (f) 10 ms

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As mentioned before, the discharge current needs about 250 µ s or 300 µ s to reach the setting value (500 A) in this experiment. Therefore, the discharge current can be given as following:

I = { 2 × 10 6 × t 250 t > 0( µ s)

500

t > 250( µ s )

(3)

In this research, λ is calculated by the size of arc plas- ma during plasma stabilization stage since it is used to revise the plasma diameter of steady state. And, the val- ue of λ is 1.31 in the discharge conditions of this exper- iment. As analysis above, the arc plasma diameter increases as the discharge time continues in the plasma diame- ter expansion and plasma entirety expansion, while, its diameter almost remains stable during plasma stabiliza- tion stage. Therefore, the time-dependent function f (t ) can be regarded as a piecewise function based on dier- ent expansion stages. Previous researches indicated that the relationship between plasma diameter and discharge current valid is also exponential function in EDM field [10,11]. Due to belonging to electrical machining processes, EDM and arc discharging share some similar internal rules. Therefore, the formula of plasma diameter expansion can also be fitted with exponential function. As shown in Eq. (4), the values f ( t ) are matched by the experi- mental results in this research.

f (t ) = { 0. 225t 0 . 17 t s t > 0

1

t > t s

(4)

Based on the Eq.(1), Eq.(2) and Eq.(4), the plasma diameter in arc discharging can be deduced as:

D p = { 1 .31 × 0. 225 × t 0 . 17 × 260 × I 0 . 5 t s t > 0

1

. 31 × 1 × 260 × I 0 . 5

t > t s (5)

Furthermore, the Eq. (5) can be simplified as follow-

ing:

D p = { 76 .64 × t 0 . 17 × I 0 . 5 t s t > 0

. 6 × I 0 . 5

Where D p is the plasma diameter in arc discharging, in micrometre, t is the pulse duration, in microsecond, I is the discharge current, in ampere ( A) and t s is the start time of plasma stable stage. As can be observed, the em- pirical equation indicates that the arc plasma diameter evolution in arc discharging consists of expansion peri- od and stable period. During expansion period (includ- ing diameter expansion and entirely expansion stage),

(6)

340

t > t s

the proposed formula is similar to the empirical formula

( r = (2. 04 e 3) × i 0 . 43 × t 0 . 44 ) of spark plasma expansion in EDM, which is proposed by Ikai et al. [11]. While, in stable period, the proposed formula in arc discharging is approximate to the empirical formulation proposed by Wang et al. [9]. In order to verify the prediction of arc diameter e- quation, more images of arc plasma diameter were ob- tained to measure the plasma diameter during a single arc discharging. And the measurement diameter and prediction diameter values of those arc plasma in dif- ferent instant are given in Fig. 6. As can be observed, it indicates that the prediction values show a close agree- ment with the experimental measurement values when considering the reasonable range of errors. Besides, the empirical equation for plasma diameter can predict the evolution tendency of plasma diameter expansion.

5. Conclusion

In this research, the observation experiments were conducted to study the arc plasma channel developing and expansion behavior in single arc discharging. Ac- cording to the experimental result and theory analysis, following conclusions can be drawn:

(1) The images of arc plasma developing and expan- sion behavior were captured by means of a high-speed

camera. According to those images, it indicates that the arc plasma expansion gone through the stages of igni- tion, diameter expansion, entirely expansion and stabi- lization stages. During the diameter expansion stage, the plasma diameter increases while its length almost remains stable. Afterwards, the diameter and length of plasma channel are both enlarged during entirety expan- sion process, but its shape still remains a regular cone- shape. (2) The waveforms of discharge current and voltage shows that the discharge current remains stable after it reach to the setting value. While, the sustaining voltage is increased from 27 V to 40 V throughout the arc dis- charging. A reasonable explanation is that the erosion of needle electrode lead to the raising of gap distance, resulting in the increasement of sustaining voltage. (3) An empirical formulation of plasma diameter in arc discharging was deduced based on the observation experiment results and previous studies. Moreover, the prediction values show a close agreement with the ex- perimental measurement values when considering the reasonable range of errors.

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Zhu et al. / Procedia Manufacturing 26 (2018) 454–461 461 Fig. 6. Comparison between the prediction

Fig. 6. Comparison between the prediction of plasma diameters and measurement values

Acknowledgements

The authors acknowledge the National Natural Sci- ence Foundation of China (Grant No. 51575351 and 51235007), the State Key Laboratory of Me- chanical System and Vibration of China (Grant No. MSV201305), the national science and technology key project (Grant No. 2014ZX04001111) and the project of USCAST (No.2015-19) for their financial support.

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