A small interelectrode gap in Electrochemical Machining (ECM) results in improved dimensional accuracy control and simplified tool design. However, using a small gap with conventional ECM equipment adversely affects the electrolyte flow or mass transport conditions in the gap, leading to process instability. The most remarkable breakthrough in this regard is the development of ECM using pulsed current. Pulse Electrochemical Machining (PECM) involves the application of a voltage pulse at high current density in the anodic dissolution process. PECM allows for more precise monitoring and control of machining parameters than ECM using continuous current. Small interelectrode gap, low electrolyte flow rate, gap state recovery during the pulse-off times and improved anodic dissolution efficiency features encountered in PECM lead to improved workpiece precision and surface finish when compared with ECM using continuous current. This paper presents mathematical models for the PECM process which take into consideration the nonsteady physical phenomena in the gap between the electrodes, including the conjugate fields of electrolyte flow velocities, pressure, temperature, gas concentrations, current densities and anodic material removal rates. The principles underlying higher dimensional accuracy and simpler tool design attainable with optimum pulse parameters are also discussed. Experimental studies indicate the validity of the proposed PECM models.
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