Optimization of WEDM for precise machining of novel developed Al6061-7.5% SiC squeeze casted composite

Ishfaq, Kashif and Anwar, Saqib and Ali, Muhammad Asad and Raza, Muhammad Huzaifa and Farooq, Muhammad Umar and Ahmad, Shafiq and Pruncu, Catalin I. and Saleh, Mustafa and Salah, Bashir (2020) Optimization of WEDM for precise machining of novel developed Al6061-7.5% SiC squeeze casted composite. International Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology, 111 (7-8). pp. 2031-2049. ISSN 1433-3015 (https://doi.org/10.1007/s00170-020-06218-5)

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The emerging demands of industry for developing the novel materials with superior mechanical properties have successfully resulted in the development of distinct materials such as Al-matrix composites. Among these composites, newly developed Al6061-7.5% SiC holds promising mechanical characteristics. But, the SiC reinforcement in the Al-matrix makes the machining of this composite challenging, thus posing a serious concern regarding its effective utilization. In this research, high-speed wire electric discharge machining (WEDM) was employed for the precise machining of a squeeze casted Al6061-7.5% SiC composite. The cutting performance of the WEDM was assessed in terms of roughness (S R), cutting rate (C s) and kerf width (K W). Experimentation was performed according to the response surface methodology. The experimental findings were thoroughly investigated using statistical, optical and scanning electron microscopic (SEM) analyses. It has been revealed that the voltage is most influential/contributing parameter (having a percentage contribution of 25%) for controlling the S R during WEDM of Al6061-7.5% SiC composite, whereas for the C S and K W, pulse and current are the major contributing control variables with percentage contributions of 90% and 84%, respectively. At low magnitude of both current and voltages, the surface quality is improved up to 33.3%. The SEM and optical microscopic evidences reveal shallow craters, small size melt re-deposits and micro globules on the machined surface at lower settings of both the said variables. Contrarily, for achieving higher cutting speed, high values of current and voltage along with low pulse are deemed essential. In case of K W, low magnitude of current and voltage along with smaller pulse yields 20% reduction in the kerf width. The analyses revealed the conflicting nature of the studied output responses (S R, C s and K W). Therefore, multi-objective genetic algorithm (MOGA) was used to find a parametric combination. The best combination of WEDM input parameters found is current = 3 A, voltage = 84.999 V and pulse = 10 mu. This combination gives a minimum S R of 5.775 μm with a K W of 0.3111 mm at a C S of 5.885 mm/min. The suitability of the MOGA-proposed parametric combination was witnessed through confirmation trials. Furthermore, the parametric effects have also been mathematically quantified with respect to the defined machinability parameters.