Surface Finish Modeling in Micromilling of Biocompatible Materials
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Over the last few decades, miniaturization of the product became a necessity for many industries to achieve successful technological development, satisfy customer needs, and stay economically competitive in the market. Thus, many medical, aerospace, and electronic devices tend to decrease in size. Along with the strong demand for miniaturization, new cutting-edge micromanufacturing techniques are developing in order to produce microcomponents with a smooth surface finish and high dimensional accuracy. In the medical industry, some devices require manufacturing of fluidic microchannels on biocompatible materials for transportation of exact amount of medicine to a defined location. Often such microchannels must be manufactured to achieve a high aspect ratio, a submicron surface finish, and an anisotropic controlled profile. The fabrication of such channels on biocompatible materials still poses a challenge. This study developed micromanufacturing technique to produce the microchannels and satisfy all the requirements listed above. Computer controlled micromilling on a high speed machine system in minimum quantity lubrication was used to remove most materials and define a channel pattern. Microchannels were machined with ball end mills of diameters from Ø152μm to Ø198μm on NiTi alloy, 304 and 316L stainless steels. Assessment of microchannel was performed with optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, and white light interferometry. The theoretical surface roughness in ball end milling was derived using geometrical approach. The theoretical surface finish model was compared and validated with the experimental surface finish data. Meso- and macro-scale milling confirmed the validity of the model, but surface finish in micro-scale milling was measured to be a few orders of magnitude higher due to size effect and build-up edge. The build-up-edge was reduced when using AlTiN coated tools and milling in minimum quantity lubrication. The empirical surface roughness model obtained in this study shows the dependence of surface finish on chip load in micromilling. In order to further enhance the surface finish of milled microchannels additional finishing technique was identified. A separate study developed an effective electrochemical polishing technique to remove burrs and enhance surface finish of milled microchannels. When applying to 304, 316L stainless steel alloys and NiTi alloy, this hybrid technique can repeatedly produce microchannels with an average surface finish less than 100nm.
Berestovskyi, Dmytro V (2013). Surface Finish Modeling in Micromilling of Biocompatible Materials. Master's thesis, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from