Principal investigator: Burak Ozdoganlar

University: Carnegie Mellon University

Industry partners: Kennametal, Inc.

The objective of this proposal is to characterize the green micromachining process for ceramic micromanufacturing to identify favorable micromachining parameters that will result in the best combination of material removal rate, surface quality, dimensional accuracy, and micro-tool life. Ceramics offer many unique mechanical, thermal, electrical, and chemical properties that make them ideal materials for a broad range of applications. However, the same properties that make ceramics attractive also bring strict limitations to their manufacturability. These limitations are further exacerbated at the micro-scale; although there are many potential applications for micro-scale ceramic components and devices, those applications cannot be realized without effective approaches for ceramic micromanufacturing. To address this challenge, we propose an approach referred to as green micromachining (GMM), which involves fabricating micro-scale features with green-state ceramics (ceramic particles mixed with a polymer binder and compacted into simple shapes) using mechanical micromachining and subsequently de-binding and sintering them to obtain solid ceramics with micro-scale features. For green-state ceramics, the mechanical material removal is dominated by the binder and thus becomes significantly easier-producing considerably lower forces and tool wear. As such, the GMM approach promises significant advantages in geometric and shape capabilities, production volume and rate, lead time, and fabrication cost. However, realizing this potential of GMM requires understanding process-property relationships. This project involves a close collaboration between CMU and Kennametal, who will provide ceramics expertise, source materials, and post processing. If successful, the proposed GMM-based ceramic micromanufacturing process can bring many exciting advances to a myriad of applications.