Electrochemical Jet Processing for Metal Micro-Manufacturing: Investigation and Implementation

  • Wael Othman

Student thesis: Master's Thesis

Abstract

With the current improvement that metal micro-manufacturing techniques have reached, manufacturing capabilities have become enormous and diverse. In this context, electrochemical Jet Processing (ECJP) has emerged as a novel approach for manufacturing metallic components at low temperatures with low cost. Due to its high resolution and its material quality, this technique can be applied to high-performance small-scale heat exchangers for high-density fluxes. This directly reduces energy requirements for computation activities and energy harvesting in micro-scale devices. During ECJP, the electrolyte jet localizes the electrochemical reaction into a precise point on the substrate, where either oxidation or reduction occurs. One of the key characteristics of ECJP is the capability of adding or subtracting metal simply by reversing the polarity applied during the process. Controlling the deposition in the 3-dimensions allows layer-by-layer structure build-up, making it a promising candidate for metal additive manufacturing. Moreover, etching with high precision adds to its potential as an alternative process for subtractive machining of metals. So far, most of the focus has been on the electrochemical jet reaction phenomena and the chemical composition of the electrolyte, while less attention has been focused towards the current density relation to the deposition rate. In this work, the deposition (addition) and etching (subtraction) of copper were monitored under various polymer-printed nozzles sizes, applied currents, processing time, pumping-speed and nozzle-contact point separation. Consequently, these observations provide the critical parametric space to be optimized in order to achieve a speedy deposition and etching and be used to achieve a metal-polymer hybrid 3D printing technique. The nature of the deposited material is polycrystalline, with a density that varies with changing current density, due to the formation of porous regions in the structure.
Date of AwardMay 2019
Original languageAmerican English

Keywords

  • Electrochemical jet processing; electrolyte jet; deposition; additive manufacturing; etching; subtractive machining

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