Electroplating is a method conventionally used to deposit layers of conductive materials on metallic surfaces, either as protective sheaths or for enhancing their appearance. The object to be plated may be masked to ensure electro deposition on specific areas on its surface. Electro deposition is based on the principle of electrolysis. Wide range of electrolytic solutions are being used including contain salts of metals and can be buffered to control the pH level.
In our pursuit of exploring more potential applications of existing electroplating processes, UCMAN uses the principles of electroplating to fabricate micro diamond abrasive tools. Availability of accurate micro abrasive tools is an essential requirement in the development of an efficient multi-material micro manufacturing system. Micro system products are increasingly using advanced engineering materials such as ceramics and fiber reinforced composites. Existing micromachining processes are not adequate for micromachining electrically non-conductive and inert materials. Micro-grinding is a potential technique for micromachining of such materials. Commercially available micro abrasive tools are typically limited to sizes above 800 μm, with single layer of abrasives only. Our ongoing research aims to fabricate multilayered micro abrasive tools with diameter below 100 μm, for efficient machining performance and longer tool life.