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Plasma-Electrolyte Machining


The Research of the Plasma-Electrolyte Machining with the Object of Reduction of Capacity of Electric Power Supply to be after into Extension of the Use of Technology at Average and Small Business

Tech Area / Field

  • MAN-MPS/Manufacturing, Planning, Processing and Control/Manufacturing Technology

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
Joint Institute of Energy and Nuclear Research - Sosny, Belarus, Minsk, Sosny


  • KITECH, Korea Institute of Industrial Technology / Plasma Teams Production Technology Center, Korea, Incheon\nInnovative Electrochemical Research & Consultancy, The Netherlands, Leeuwarden

Project summary

In our time the chemical and electrochemical machining is broadly used at scope of the finish processings (polishing, removal of burrs, preparation of surfaces for the deposition of different coatings). The general drawback of these technologies is the use of the strong toxic acids (hydrochloric, orthophosphoric, sulphuric and others).

Plasma-Electrolyte Machining (PEM Technology) was arisen to develop since the early 1980's.

That is the exclusively easy and ecologically clean technology. One uses electrolytes with the weak solution salts (before 5%).

Below thumbnail sketch of the process is given.

Scheme of main equipment for to realize the PEM Technology process

The work piece 3 is laden into an electrolyte tank 1 with weak salt solution 4.

A body of the electrolyte tank 1 serves as cathode, the anode is the work piece 3 connected to the source of the direct current with voltage 250-330 V. The source consists transformer 6 and rectifier 5.

Under determined conditions not far from surfaces of the work piece as result of the electrolyte film boiling the thin steam-to-gas shell 2 is formed, in which the plasma pulsatory discharges take place. Interacting with the microasperity tops, plasma changes the topography of the work piece surfaces. That reduces the surface roughness and adds a mirror glitter.

Possessing the unchallengeable advantage in contrast with the traditional technology (the simplicity and ecological safety), PEM Technology has an essential imperfection: very high capacity of the electric power supply (of transformer 6) required for ensuring the technological process. It is due to the fact that density of the energy flow from steam-to-gas shell 2 toward electrolyte 4 must be about 100 W/cm2. So if you want to execute polishing the work piece which has size as soccer ball, capacity of installation must be not less 200 kW. Our experience witnesses such capacity is unacceptable for the small and middle business enterprises on account of problems with electricity supply.

The aim of this given project is an extension of a possibility to use the PEM Technology at the average and small business on basis of results of researches and developments directed on reduction of the capacity of the source of the power supply (not less than 10 once) and the increase of processing product quality.

Following R&D will are executed for achievement of target within the framework of project given: influence upon process of the pulsed current in the anode-cathode circuit; stability of the film boiling in the steam-to-gas shell upon low density of the heat flow (not more than 0.1 MW/m2); a support of the homogeneity parameters of electrolyte into tank; the influence of the external variable magnetic field on processes when polishing of metal takes place.

At the last years the project participants have performed next works in the field of PEM Technology: special electrolytes for polishing on alloys of copper, aluminum, titanium, plates with clean silicon were designed; technology of the polishing large product on the available experienced-industrial facility "Blesk" (by 500 kW capacity) was perfected; for PEM Technology realization about 30 the installations were made and delivered in CIS.

There are publications, patents, running thematic site

As a result of the project plan realization the new knowledge will be received to promote fundamental improvement of PEM Technology. Authors of the proposal are planning after termination of project to continue the design in the field of PEM Technology including making the new technological equipment. It is planned to attract some specialized design organizations.

It is expected that a capacity of the input transformer of the installation will manage to reduce in 10 once. This will immediately make easy access for enterprises of the average and small business towards PEM Technology. It is well known the finish machining of metallic items is the broad area of production. And so effect from the use of project results will certainly be significant into scientific, economic, industrial, commercial and other directions.

The proposed project corresponds to the aims of ISTC and allows: providing weapons scientists and engineers in the CIS, particularly those who possess knowledge and skills related to weapons of mass destruction, opportunities to redirect their talents to peaceful activities; reinforcing the transition to market-based economies responsive to civil needs.

Indicated above tasks the project participants have intended to solve for the most part by experimental way. For that available equipment will be used as well as two the new laboratory experimental installations will be created. Results of the work will be reflected in research reports, publications, patents, as well as in the manner of operative information on site

In accordance with volume of activity within the framework of proposed project are expected following types of cooperation with foreign collaborators: information exchange in the course of project implementation; testing and evaluation of equipment/technologies, developed in the course of the project; assistance and material support for project participants to join international meetings; conduction of joint workshops.