Investigation on cutting metals using induced currents
Non-contact magnetic cutting (NCMC) is a recently developed metal-cutting technology that uses pulsed magnetic fields to advance and steer fine cuts in metal sheet. With this process, a coil is used to induce currents in a workpiece that has a starter feature such as a notch or slit. The induced currents are forced to bend tightly around the starter feature, which enhances the current and magnetic field density. Under the right conditions, resistive heating and large J × B forces cause localized melting and ejection of material. Each cut is only a fraction of a millimeter long; however, the process can be repeated and the coil can be moved to cut arbitrary lengths and shapes. While some promising results have been obtained, the operating space for making controlled cuts appears to be narrow. Furthermore, the process by which cutting occurs is not well understood. The objective of this dissertation is to provide the scientific underpinnings of NCMC by experimentally assessing the conditions for controlled cutting, developing a method for predicting conditions for optimal cutting, and identifying a path to reduce NCMC to practice.