Brittle materials can be amongst the most difficult to machine. However, machining brittle materials with precision is crucial for the manufacture of devices for a wide range of different industries. Traditional machining processes may lack the accuracy required to level surfaces of brittle materials as is necessary to manufacture quality products for specific industries.
The machining process to polish these surfaces is also typically expensive and may alter the form of the material if not done correctly. It is important to find a company that is experienced in a variety of machining processes, especially new technologies, when outsourcing machining needs for brittle materials.
Types of Brittle Materials Applications
Brittle materials such as ceramics and different types of glasses are increasingly being used for applications across many industries. Brittle materials may be used to craft components for optical communications, semiconductors, computers, and other technological devices.
Brittle materials may also be used in such varied applications as the manufacture of automobile equipment or the creation of medical equipment and tools. Due to the increased demand for components made of brittle materials in these industries, it has become imperative for machining processes to not only be very precise, but also to be easily replicable to exact and unique specifications.
Brittle Material Machining Considerations
Maintaining the surface integrity of materials and controlling the rate of material removal are two of the most important considerations when machining brittle materials. If material is removed at a rate that is too high, it may compromise the soundness of the component and may result in fracture. If too much material is removed, it will increase the waste and the eventually cost of product manufacture. If the surface is not of high quality, the components may not work for the needed applications, or may be of lower quality than desired.
Machining Processes Used
Ductile regime grinding is an effective machining process that has been used for brittle materials for several years now. In ductile regime grinding, material is removed through plastic deformation, which reduces the risk of fractures and compromised materials. Regime grinding also eliminates or minimizes the need for polishing and lapping, which saves time and costs while producing a component of the same quality.
Rotary Ultrasonic Machining
In recent years, Rotary Ultrasonic Machining (RUM) has been found to achieve high quality results with minimal costs. When RUM is used, surface material is removed using both ultrasonic machining and traditional grinding methods. A coolant is introduced between the material and the tool to flush away the material while working. Using a diamond integrated tool for drilling when using RUM processes has shown to improve drilling accuracy and ease.