In electron-beam machining (EBM), electrons are accelerated ..
In electron-beam machining (EBM), electrons are accelerated to a velocity nearly three-fourths that of light.
The process is performed in a vacuum chamber to reduce the scattering of electrons by gas molecules in the atmosphere.
The stream of electrons is directed against a precisely limited area of the workpiece;
on impact, the kinetic energy of the electrons is converted into thermal energy that melts and vaporizes the material to be removed, forming holes or cuts.
EBM equipment is commonly used by the electronics industry to aid in the etching of circuits in microprocessors.
Electron Beam Machining (EBM) and Laser Beam Machining (LBM) are thermal processes considering the mechanisms of material removal. However electrical energy is used to generate high-energy electrons in case of Electron Beam Machining (EBM) and high-energy coherent photons in case of Laser Beam Machining (LBM). Thus these two processes are often classified as electro-optical-thermal processes.
There are different jet or beam processes, namely Abrasive Jet, Water Jet etc. These two are mechanical jet processes. There are also thermal jet or beams. A few are oxyacetylene flame, welding arc, plasma flame etc. EBM as well as LBM are such thermal beam processes. Fig. 9.6.1 shows the variation in power density vs. the characteristic dimensions of different thermal beam processes. Characteristic length is the diameter over which the beam or flame is active. In case of oxyacetylene flame or welding arc, the characteristic length is in mm to tens of mm and the power density is typically low. Electron Beam may have a characteristic length of tens of microns to mm depending on degree of focusing of the beam. In case of defocused electron beam, power density would be as low as 1 Watt/mm2. But in case of focused beam the same can be increased to tens of kW/mm2. Similarly as can be seen in Fig. 9.6.1, laser beams can be focused over a spot size of 10 – 100 μm with a power density as high as 1 MW/mm2. Electrical discharge typically provides even higher power density with smaller spot size.