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In traditional machining processes, well-defined wedge shaped tools are used to remove the material from the work piece. In these processes, very low level of forces cannot be applied due to the limitations of machine tools. Secondly, forces acting on the work piece cannot be controlled by any external means except the cutting conditions (feed, depth of cut and cutting speed). It is still more difficult to control the forces when the cutting is performed using fixed abrasive tools (say, grinding wheel) although cutting forces affect surface finish. Where, Surface finish is a key factor in important functional properties, such as wear resistance and power losses due to friction, in many of the engineering components, for example, smoothly finished inner pipe surfaces are necessary to prevent the contamination of gas and liquid in high purity piping systems for critical applications, like aerospace components, atomic energy parts, medical instruments and semiconductor plants. Lately, some processes have been developed in which the force acting on an abrasive particle can be externally controlled by magnetic field. As a result, very low values of depth of cut and high surface finish, in a controlled manner, can be achieved. One of such processes is called as magnetic abrasive finishing (MAF). This process can be used for finishing and deburring of flat surfaces as well as cylindrical (internal and external) surfaces. Further, the work piece to be finished can be made of either ferromagnetic or non-ferromagnetic material.

1. Process Principles:
The process principles of magnetic abrasive finishing are shown in Fig.1. The magnetic abrasives are joined to each other magnetically between magnetic poles N and S along the lines of magnetic force, forming flexible magnetic abrasive brushes. When a cylindrical work piece with rotatory and vibratory motions is inserted in such a magnetic field, surface and edge finishing are performed by these magnetic abrasive brushes.

MAF fig (1)

Fig.2 shows the two-dimensional magnetic field distribution in the working zone.

Fig (2) The magnetic abrasive particle at position "A" far from the working zone is affected by the magnetic forces represented by the following equations.

Where: V: volume of magnetic abrasive particle. X: susceptibility of the particle. H: magnetic field strength at point "A". X: direction of line of magnetic force. Y: direction of magnetic equipotential line. aH/Bx and aH/ay are gradients of magnetic field strength in x and y directions respectively.

From Eq. (l), it is evident that the magnetic forces F and F are proportional to the volume of the magnetic abrasive particle, the susceptibility of the particle, the magnetic field strength and its gradient. If there is any change of magnetic field strength in the direction of the line of magnetic force near the work surface, the magnetic abrasive particles are pushed toward the work surface. The magnetic force F actuates the magnetic abrasive particles to take 'part in the surface finishing of the work piece. Now, consideration is given to the finishing pressure generated by a group of magnetic abrasives in the working zone. In general, when magnetism acts on the boundary plane of two materials with different permeability, a magnetic stress is generated on its boundary plane. The finishing pressure in the working zone is introduced by applying the formula for this magnetic stress. Assuming that the shape of the magnetic abrasive particle is spherical, the volume percentage of pure iron contained in one particle is w and the filled state of particles is a tetragonal arrangement, and also that a group of magnetic abrasives in the working zone are composed of three elements (i.e. pure iron, abrasive grains and pore:), the theoretical formula of the finishing pressure P" is:


B: magnetic flux density in the working zone. LO: magnetic permeability in vacuum. p s : relative magnetic permeability of pure iron. It is evident that the finishing pressure generated by a group of magnetic abrasives in the working zone has no relation to the magnetic abrasive particle diameter. This fact has also been confirmed through a model test using steel balls of various diameters.

2. Mechanism of forming magnetic abrasive polishing brush:

Fig (3), configuration of magnetic abrasive brushes. Fig (3) shows the configuration of magnetic abrasive brushes in which the magnetized abrasives stretch in a row from the pole to the material. In considering only the magnetic field, a continuous function, it is expected that the magnetized particles aggregate into bundles. However, the interaction of the magnetized particles must be taken into account.

2.1 Energy required producing magnetic abrasive brush:

Energy requirements in the production of magnetic abrasive brush using magnetic abrasives that are added little by little into the magnetic field are discussed as follows:

Magnetization energy, Wm, required magnetizing the abrasives to form bundles. Repulsion energy, Wf , due to Faraday effect causes the bundles to repel from each other. Tension energy, Wt, needed to counter act the curved bundles due to repelling particles. Therefore, in order to form the magnetic abrasive brush sum of these energies, W, is necessary: W = Wm + Wf + Wt The brush is formed in a stable state when W is minimum, that is, dW = 0.

2.2. Formation of magnetic abrasive brush:

The structure of the magnetic abrasive brush was certified by a method shown in Fig. 5.

Fig (4). Observation method of structures of magnetic abrasive brush. After forming the magnetic abrasive brush from a lower pole to an acrylic plate, which was placed instead of a work piece, it was observed from upper side by a CCD camera. A forming mechanism of a magnetic abrasive brush can be clarified from observations made on in various abrasive volumes; mass of abrasive was varied from 0.1 to 1.0 g by 0.1 g. Fig. 5 shows typical cases of 0.1, 0.2 and 0.6 g.

Fig (5) typical cases of structures of magnetic abrasive brushes

The characteristics of the observed brush are as follows: (i) (ii) At an abrasive small volume, the diameter of each bundle is in the order of a few hundred micrometers that are separated from each other. With an increase of volume, the bundles get closer to other and the diameter of the bundles increase to several hundred micrometers, corresponding to several abrades. At large abrasive volume, the maximum diameter of a bundle does not increase but the number of bundles of several diameter increases.


These phenomena can be explained from the viewpoint of the brush forming energy: At a smaller volume of abrades, the tension energy acting on the outer side of the curved bundles is smaller than the magnetization energy: dWm > dWt . On the other hand, when the increase of the curvature of the outmost bundle becomes too large or the separation of bundles becomes too short, the diameter of the bundle becomes large even though the magnetization energy is large: dWf > dWm, dWt > dWm. However, the diameter of the bundle is limited because the differential factor of energy to diameter is assumed to increase abruptly.

The tangential component of the tension in the outer curved bundles is directed inward and repulsion between bundles adds up in the inner side. Thus, the abrasives of the brush edge are held firm by these tangential forces. The holding force is thus strong at the inner side of the abrasive brush.

3. Parameters affecting on magnetic abrasive finishing:

In order to efficiently remove the rough surface and the machining-produced surface damage, and to obtain a smooth finished surface, it is necessary to clearly understand all the process interactions and characteristics. These characteristics are influenced by the workpiece circumferential speed, magnetic flux density, working clearances, workpiece material and so on.

3.1. Influence of Magnetic Abrasive Particle Size on finishing Characteristics:

If the influence of particle size is made clear, it is not only possible to select the suitable particle size, but also to have a guide for the development of future magnetic abrasives. As shown in Fig.6, magnetic abrasives can be characterized by the particle diameter "D" and the diameter "d" of abrasive cutting grain. The influences of D and d on stock removal and surface roughness were examined experimentally.

Fig.6 Average diameter of magnetic abrasive particle Used in finishing experiment

Fig.7 shows the test results obtained by using A-1 through A-4 magnetic abrasives. In Fig.7 diameter D is same, but the abrasive grain diameter d is changed. The influence of the grain diameter d on stock removal is comparatively small, while it is remarkably large on surface roughness.

Fig (7) Experimental results obtained by using A-1 through A-4 magnetic abrasives

Fig.8 shows test results obtained by using B-1through B-3 magnetic abrasives. The abrasive grain diameter d is same in these, but the particle diameter D is different. The particle diameter D has a large effect on both stock removal and surface roughness.

Fig (8) Experimental results obtained by using B-1 through 8-3 magnetic abrasives

The test results mentioned above are explained as follows: It is evident that the magnetic force acting on one magnetic abrasive particle is proportional to the particle volume (i.e. D) In the case of Eq. (l), and to D in the case of Eq. (2). These forces are expressed summarily using the symbol f as follows: