Added powders in a dielectric medium substantially influence the features of electrical discharges due to altered interelectrode conditions during the electrical discharge machining (EDM) process. The main discharge channel is disturbed due to the added powders in dielectric liquid and leads formations of secondary discharges. Such altered discharge conditions generate a unique topography on the machined surface and consequent subsurface microstructure beneath it. Ti6Al4V work material machined using SiC powder mixing in de-ionized water for an extensive set of pulse-on duration and pulse currents. Then, different forms of secondary discharges were identified from the resultant surface features and corresponding subsurface microstructures. The results pointed out that generation of unevenly separated secondary discharges increased the material transfer rate from the powder mixed dielectric liquid to the machined surface by means of the decomposed ions in the plasma channel. Complete separation of the main discharge channel into evenly distributed secondary discharges is possible under specific machining conditions that suggested minimal deformation of the machined surface regarding microcracks, roughness, and heat affected layer thickness. Under such machining conditions, another means of material transfer mechanism is activated that lead a powder particle build-up process on the machined surface. Consequently, five different discharge forms were proposed to describe the resultant surface topographies and subsurface microstructures. The material migration phenomena and the mechanisms are discussed in relation to the pulse-on time and pulse current.

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