A unique micro electrochemical machining (ECM) method based on a scanning micro electrochemical flow cell (SMEFC), in which the electrolyte is confined beneath the tool electrode instead of spreading on the workpiece surface, has been developed and its feasibility for fabricating mesoscale channels has been investigated. The effects of the surface conditions, the applied current, the feed rate, the concentration of the electrolyte and several geometrical parameters on the machining performance have been investigated through a series of experiments. The cross-sectional profile of the channels, the roughness of the channel bottom, the width and depth of the channel, the microstructures on the machined surface and the morphologies of the moving droplet have been analyzed and compared under different machining conditions. Furthermore, experiments with different overlaps of the electrolyte droplet traces have also been conducted, in which the SMEFC acts as a “milling tool”. The influences of the electrode offset distance (EOD), the current and the feed rate on the machining performance have also been examined through the comparison of the corresponding cross-sectional profiles and microstructures. The results indicate that, in addition to machining individual channels, the SMEFC system is also capable of generating shallow cavities with a suitable superimposed motion of the tool electrode.
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