The influence of cut direction and process parameters in wire electrical discharge machining of carbon fibre–reinforced plastic composites

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The paper details a comprehensive experimental investigation on the influence of operating parameters and cut direction (parallel and perpendicular to fibre orientation) when wire electrical discharge machining (WEDM) unidirectional CFRP composites using zinc-coated brass wire (0.25-mm diameter). A Taguchi L18 fractional factorial orthogonal array considering four variable parameters including open voltage, ignition current and pulse-on time as well as pulse-off time was carried out for each cut direction. Results showed that a ~ 16% increase in maximum material removal rate was achieved when machining parallel to fibre direction (2.41 mm3/min) compared to cutting perpendicular to the fibres (~ 2.08 mm3/min), which was attributed to the higher electrical conductivity of the workpiece along the fibre length leading to greater discharge energies. This however resulted in relatively larger average kerf widths and poorer workpiece surface roughness (Sa) caused by the Joule heating effect. Workpieces machined parallel to fibre direction were generally free of any major edge defects, in contrast to severe delamination observed on both the top and bottom surfaces of specimens cut perpendicular to fibre orientation. High-magnification scanning electron microscopy of the machined surfaces revealed the presence of adhered resin material, fibre cracking, cavities/gaps in the matrix phase and interlayer cracks on most of the samples analysed, with damage severity dependent on the operating parameters and cut direction.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1699-1716
JournalThe International Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology
Issue number5-6
Early online date11 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2021