A plasma arc erosion process can be used to create metal and metal oxide particles in the ultra-fine size range (<70 µm). An electric arc is struck between two metallic electrodes, submerged in water, melting the surface of the electrodes. When the arc collapses a high energy pressure wave strikes the molten surface of the electrode. When the pressure wave strikes the molten metal, small metallic particles are created from the molten metal and are immediately cooled in the water. Previous research developed a process that used a constant current power supply and electrode motion to create ultra-fine particles. This research improves upon previous research by using a pulsed power supply similar to those used in Electrical Discharge Machining (EDM). The pulsed power supply eliminates the need for electrode motion and improves the rate of particle production, provides control over size of the particles created, and reduces the amount of energy needed to produce the particles. The new process improves the maximum particle production rate from 3.6 g/hr to 14 g/hr, provides a method to control the mean diameter of the particles produced, and reduces the amount of energy needed from 200 kWh/kg(previous constant current process) to 10.6 kWh/kg(using the pulsed power supply).



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Mechanical Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





EDM, PID, plasma arc, nano-particles, dielectric, process machine, copper, electrical discharge, water, wire