The objective of this paper is to study the time-evolution of the process mechanics for micro-electrical discharge machining (MEDM) and reverse-micro-electrical discharge machining (R-MEDM), as a function of key system parameters, viz., voltage, capacitance, and threshold of the spark circuit. Full factorial experiments have been performed to quantify the aforementioned system parameters on the MEDM and R-MEDM processes. The process monitoring voltage and current signals, material erosion rate and the surface roughness values are the machining responses of interest. The voltage and current (V-I) signals reveal information about the material erosion rate and the extent of debris-interference associated with the corresponding process. Analysis of the V-I signals shows that R-MEDM is more stable than MEDM and can therefore be operated at aggressive conditions of capacitance and voltage. R-MEDM also results in higher material erosion rates but the resulting surface has a higher surface roughness value than that generated by MEDM. A debris deposition mechanism is proposed for R-MEDM that suggests debris entrapment and subsequent welding to the machined feature to be the reason for the increased surface roughness.

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