Smart ceramic materials are next generation materials with the inherent intelligence to adapt to change in the external environment. These materials are destined to play an essential role in several critical engineering applications. Machining these materials using traditional machining processes is a challenge. The laser beam micromachining (LBMM) process has the potential to machine such smart materials. However, laser machining when performed in air induces high thermal stress on the surface, often leading to crack formation, recast and re-deposition of ablated material, and large heat-affected zones (HAZ). Performing laser beam machining in the presence of a liquid medium could potentially resolve these issues. This research investigates the possibility of using a Liquid Assisted—Laser Beam Micromachining (LA-LBMM) process for micromachining smart ceramic materials. Experimental studies are performed to compare the machining quality of laser beam machining process in air and in a liquid medium. The study reveals that the presence of liquid medium helps in controlling the heat-affected zone and the taper angle of the cavity drilled, thereby enhancing the machining quality. Analytical modeling is developed for the prediction of HAZ and cavity diameter both in air and underwater conditions, and the model is capable of predicting the experimental results to within 10% error.
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