(642d) Sinker Electric Discharge Machining As an Inexpensive Method to Prototype Microscale-Based Lamina-Plates with High Aspect Ratio Features
Microscale architectures â sought for their enhancement of heat and mass transfer in microscale-based technologies â can be difficult and/or expensive to manufacture with conventional means. Photochemical machining is a standard microscale fabrication method that is limited by low feature aspect ratios and low maximum etch depth. On the other hand, metal additive manufacturing provides a viable route to obtaining high aspect ratio features, but it is not an ideal manufacturing process for device prototyping due to post processing requirements, expensive materials and tools, and developmental infancy. Sinker Electric Discharge Machining (SEDM) is explored here as an inexpensive method for prototyping high aspect ratio features of lamina-plates that comprise a microscale-based device. Two SEDM lamina-plate prototypes are studied here. First, plates of an integrated reactor/heat-exchanger for the direct synthesis of dimethyl-ether (DME) are examined. Second, the flow plate of a lab scale multiphase microchannel separator (MMS) is discussed. In these designs, SEDM enables both scale-up and numbering-up, as well as consistent microscale-feature sizes with high aspect ratios. Physical characterization of the lamina-plates is presented. The limit in feature spacing attenable with SEDM is tested and found to be approximately 400Î¼m.