Surface finishing of intricate metal mould structures by large-area electron beam irradiation

Murray, J.W. and Kinnell, P.K. and Cannon, A.H and Bailey, B. and Clare, A.T. (2013) Surface finishing of intricate metal mould structures by large-area electron beam irradiation. Precision Engineering, 37 (2). pp. 443-450. ISSN 0141-6359

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The advancement of polymer moulding tools is increasingly focused on imparting not only form but also surface texture for functionality to the surfaces of parts that are created. Furthermore, the increasing demand for inexpensive and higher quality micro-components means that tools for replication processes must take advantage of advanced manufacturing techniques. Tools created by processes such as micro-investment casting, as in this case, may often suffer from excessive surface roughness, malformed edges and general deformation. This results in higher de-moulding forces and a reduction in fidelity of moulded parts to design intent. In this study, large-area electron beam irradiation (EB) is shown to be an effective technique for improving these metrics. For the first time, large population, high aspect ratio micro-features are subject to this process and the mechanisms of smoothing and key enhancement phenomena are demonstrated. The possibility of including EB irradiation in an integrated process chain for arriving at net shape is also discussed.

Surfaces of protruding features are shown to have surface roughness reduced significantly from 126 to 22 nm Ra value, with bottom substrate also similarly improving from 150 to 27 nm Ra. Bottoms of recessed features are also observed to have much improved surface finishes. ‘Doming’ of tops of column features is also demonstrated, further enhancing form. These features would be far too fragile to be polished by any other mechanical method.

Item Type: Article
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham UK Campus > Faculty of Engineering
Identification Number:
Depositing User: Johnson, Mrs Alison
Date Deposited: 04 Apr 2014 08:56
Last Modified: 18 Sep 2016 08:28

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