Surface and subsurface damage of reaction-bonded silicon carbide induced by electrical discharge diamond grinding

Xiaoshuang Rao, Feihu Zhang, Yanjun Lu, Xichun Luo, Fumin Chen

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Reaction-bonded silicon carbide (RB-SiC) ceramic, one of the best candidates for large optical mirrors, is difficult to machine because of its high hardness and brittleness. A hybrid process called electrical discharge diamond grinding (EDDG) exhibits potential for improving the machinability of RB-SiC by combining electrical discharge machining (EDM) and diamond grinding. However, this hybrid process leads to damages that differ from those in conventional processes owing to the simultaneous actions of EDM and diamond grinding. In the present study, surface and subsurface damages induced by the interactions between EDM and diamond grinding during the EDDG of RB-SiC were examined. The effect of the discharge energy was considered. The surface and subsurface topographies and microstructures were characterized via scanning electron microscopy, Raman spectroscopy, and transmission electron microscopy. The EDM and grinding zones exhibited distinctive surface topographies and different dominant material removal mechanisms. An increase in the discharge energy facilitated ductile removal of the material and decomposition of SiC. Thus, a thinner subsurface damage layer was obtained compared with that in the less-thermally affected zone. The decomposed C and material migration tended to increase with the discharge energy. Owing to the interactions between EDM and diamond grinding, the subsurface was a mixture of amorphous/crystalline C, polycrystalline/nanocrystalline SiC, and a crystalline SiC matrix.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103564
JournalInternational Journal of Machine Tools and Manufacture
Early online date21 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2020


  • subsurface damage
  • electrical discharge diamond grinding
  • reactionbonded silicon carbide
  • phase transformation
  • material migration


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