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WATER JET MACHINING

Principle
If the jet of water is directed in such a way that on striking the surface,
the high velocity flow is virtually stopped, then most of the kinetic
energy of the water is converted into pressure energy.
In the first few milliseconds after the initial impact of the jet on the
target, before the lateral flow of the water is initiated, a transient
pressure as much as three times the normal stagnation pressure may be
generated.
Erosion occurs if the local fluid pressures exceed the strength of the
bond binding together the materials making up the target.
In other words, liquid jet cutting removes material primarily by the
mechanical action of a high velocity stream impinging on a small area,
whereby its pressure exceeds the flow pressure of the material being
cut.
EQUIPMENT
PUMP
•Pressurizing a liquid to the 1500-4000 MN/m2 range is usually accomplished either by direct
mechanical drive applied to a small diameter plunger or by an intensifier where an immediate
pressure fluid drives a large area piston, which in turn, drives a small diameter ram which pumps
the cutting fluid.
•The reciprocating ram can be surrounded by a long, close-fitting sleeve. With correct design
and precision manufacture, the fluid leakage through this clearance seal can be as low as 2% of
the rated delivery of the unit at pressures of 30KN/cm2.

TUBING
•High pressure tubing used to transport fluid from one system component to another is thick
walled, with the ratio of the outside to inside diameter at least 5 and sometimes as high as 10.
•The tubing may be made from a solid stainless steel wall or a composite wall with stainless steel
inside and carbon steel as a jacket.
•Tubing may be used to constrain fluids at pressures greater than the yield stress of the tube
material by the use of a process known as autofrettaging or self-hooping.
TUBE-FITTINGS
•A metal-to-metal line contact is the usual technique for achieving a fluid seal in high pressure
tube fittings, accomplished by drawing a cone shape into a rounded socket.
•The cone may be machined directly onto the tubing or a cone shaped insert may be used.
•At the highest pressures, the replaceable cone design is the most workable.

VALVES
•Most high pressure valves are of the needle type.
•The main flow passage is controlled by a cone shape on the end of the needle fixed into a seat.
•A gland seal is usually required to eliminate leaks along the stem.
NOZZLES
•These are meant to convert the high pressure liquid to a high velocity jet.
•For minimum erosion, the nozzle material should be extremely hard.
•To allow the formation of a smooth contour, the material should be ductile and easily
machinable.
•Nozzles are made of sintered diamond, sapphire, tungsten carbide and special steels.
•A nozzle with an exit diameter of 0.05-0.35 mm gives a coherent jet length of upto 3-4cm.
OPERATION

The water and the polymer are mixed properly and the mixture is sent to the
intensifier where its pressure is raised.
The function of polymer is to check the divergence of the stream coming from the
nozzle.
The hydraulic intensifier increases the intensity of the pressure of water and
supplies it to a hydraulic accumulator since the energy is not required
continuously.
During the idle periods, energy is stored in the accumulator and given out during
cutting.
The intensifier, therefore, need not supply as high an amount of energy as is
required by the cutting process when doing maximum cutting.
The high pressure water coming from the accumulator is controlled by a control
panel from where it goes to the nozzle after passing through the stop-start valve.
The jet stream coming out of the nozzle cuts the work piece and is then collected
in a drain system.
PROCESS PARAMETERS

Material Removal Rate


•MRR depends on the reactive force F of the jet.
Reactive force = Mass flow rate (m) × Jet velocity (V)
MRR α m α V
•And the velocity depends on fluid pressure whereas mass flow rate depends on both-
nozzle diameter d and fluid pressure P.
MRR α d α P
•MRR is also greatly influenced by stand off distance (SOD) of the nozzle tip from the
surface of the material being cut.
•It is found that MRR increases with the increase of SOD upto a certain limit which it
remains unchanged for a certain tip distance and then falls gradually.
•Small MRR at low SOD is due to a reduction in nozzle pressure with decreasing
distance, whereas a drop in MRR at large SOD is due to a reduction in the jet velocity
with increasing distance.
•A large SOD affects accuracy and quality.
Geometry and finish of workpiece

These results on three factors:


(a) Nozzle design
(b) Jet velocity, cutting speed and depth of cut
(c) Properties (especially hardness) of the material being cut.

Wear rate of the nozzle


This depends mainly on the hardness of the nozzle material, pressure of the jet and
nozzle design.
It is clear that for a given material, the rate of cut, depth of cut and quality . A
compromise has to be made and optimum values of various parameters .
PROCESS CHARACTERISTICS

Cutting or piercing ability of jets is most eminent when impinged perpendicularly


on the workpiece surface.
Value of the specific stock removal energy in cutting has been found to be lower
than that in piercing. This can explained by assuming that the groove generated in
cutting allows for counter flow of the jet to escape freely and lessens its tendency
to build a liquid cushion.
Opening of the groove cut or the hole pierced becomes enlarged and irregular in
shape with the increase of SOD.
APPLICATIONS
Water jet machining is extensively used for the machining/slitting of fiber reinforced
plastics.

WJM is used in ship building, mining, aerospace, automotive, machine tool and sports
good industries.

WJM is used in rock cutting and in mining excavations.

WJM is used for cutting slots and grooves or for trepanning large holes in ceramics.

WJM is used to cut many nonmetallic materials like Keplar, glass epoxy, graphite,
boron, corrugated board, leather and many other brittle materials.
It is used mostly in shoe making industry and now has entered into steel plant to
descale the chilled layer of steel ingots, in aircraft industries to profile cutting of FRP
aircraft structures even glass windows.
ADVANTAGES

•Production of any dust, which can impair the cutting process, is avoided.

•Workpiece cannot become electrically charged, which is an important


factor when printed circuit boards (PCB) are being cut.
•Cuts are made without production of any heat, leaving a fine surface
finish.
•A wide range of materials can be cut.

•The process is suitable especially when cutting composites, asbestos


and fiber glass.
•The cut edges are smooth and hence requires no further finishing.
Disadvantages

•The jet stream projected into the atmosphere gets vaporized and vapors will
accumulate in the vicinity of the equipment and needs to be evacuated using
exhaust devices.

•Noise can be easily reach high decibels. The working unit should be sound
shielded and workers in the vicinity must use ear plugs as a precaution.

•Proper work holding fixtures must be used to prevent any dislodging of the
workpiece.

•Spent or used water must be contained, filtered and recycled.