Microsystem Technologies

, 17:313 | Cite as

Characterisation of high aspect ratio non-conductive ceramic microstructures made by spark erosion

  • T. HöselEmail author
  • P. Cvancara
  • T. Ganz
  • C. Müller
  • H. Reinecke
Technical Paper


The spark erosion process is widely used for micro structuring. Its possibility to structure materials independent of their material properties like high hardness or melting temperature enables to address a large material diversity. However the process requires a minimal electrical conductivity of 0.1 Scm−1. Nevertheless recent research has shown that the usage of an assisting electrode makes a processing of non-conductive materials possible. Thus even ceramics like Al2O3 or ZrO2 can be processed. These materials are becoming more and more interesting for industrial application and the field of miniaturisation due to their outstanding material characteristics like high hardness, bending strength, melting temperature and chemical inertness. In this study a new lacquer based assisting electrode is used to erode bars in zirconia samples. For this purpose a modular tool concept is established. Bars with aspect ratios of more than 80 are generated. The achieved bar heights are 1.5 mm and the smallest bar width is 8 μm. Furthermore a characterisation of the sidewall angles showed mean values between 0.4° and 2.2° depending on the bar height and width.


Tool Wear Titanium Nitride Tool Electrode Tool Wear Rate Zirconia Sample 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Chen YF, Lin YJ, Lin YC, Chen SL, Hsu LR (2009) Optimization of electrodischarge machining parameters on ZrO2 ceramic using Taguchi method. J Eng Manuf 224:195–205CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Fukuzawa Y, Tani T, Iwane E, Mohri N (1995a) New machining method for insulating ceramics with an electrical discharge phenomenon. J Ceram Soc Jpn 103:1000–1005Google Scholar
  3. Fukuzawa Y, Tani T, Ito Y, Ichinose Y, Mohri N (1995b) Electrical discharge machining (EDM) of insulator ceramics with a sheet of metal mesh. In: Proc ISEM-II, pp 173–179Google Scholar
  4. Fukuzawa Y, Mohri N, Tani T (1997) Electrical discharge machining phenomena of insulating sialon ceramics with an assisting electrode. Int J Electr MachGoogle Scholar
  5. Hösel T, Müller C, Reinecke H (2009a) Simple techniques of applying lacquer based assisting electrodes for spark erosive structuring of electrically nonconductive zirconia (ZrO2). 4M/ICOMM 2009, The Global Conference on Micro Manufacture, doi: 10.1243/17547164C0012009038
  6. Hösel T, Müller C, Reinecke H (2009b) Senkerosion von Mikrostrukturen in gesintertem, elektrisch isolierendem ZrO2. In: Proceedings Mikrosystemtechnik Kongress Berlin/Germany, pp 789–791Google Scholar
  7. Klocke F, König W (2007) Fertigungsverfahren 3: Abtragen, Generieren und Lasermaterialbearbeitung. Springer Verlag, Berlin, ISBN: 978-3-540-23492-0Google Scholar
  8. Lauwers B, Liu W, Kruth JP, Vleugels J, Jiang D, Van der Biest O (2005) Wire EDM machining of Si3N4, ZrO2 and Al2O3-based ceramics. Int J Electr Mach 10:33–37Google Scholar
  9. Lauwers B, Kruth JP, Brans K (2007) Development of technology and strategies for the machining of ceramic components by sinking and milling EDM. Annals CIRP 56/1Google Scholar
  10. Liu YH, Ji RJ, Li XP, Yu LL, Zhang HF, Li QY (2008) Effect of machining fluid on the process performance of electric discharge milling of insulating Al2O3 ceramic. Int J Mach Tools Manuf 48:1030–1035CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Mohri N, Fukusima Y, Fukuzawa Y, Tani T, Saito N (2003) Layer generation process on work-piece in electrical discharge machining. CIRP Annals Manuf Technol 52(1):157–160CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Morgan C, Vallance RR, Marsh ER (2004) Micro machining glass with polycrystalline diamond tools shaped by micro electro discharge machining. J Micromech Microeng 14:1687–1692CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Spur G (1998) Keramikbearbeitung. Schleifen, Honen, Läppen, Abtragen. Hanser Verlag, München, Wien, ISBN 3446156208Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. Hösel
    • 1
    Email author
  • P. Cvancara
    • 1
  • T. Ganz
    • 1
  • C. Müller
    • 1
  • H. Reinecke
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory for Process Technology, Department of Microsystems Engineering, IMTEKUniversity of FreiburgFreiburgGermany

Personalised recommendations