We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Ultrasonic Machining?

M. McGee
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
About Mechanics is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At About Mechanics, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Ultrasonic machining is a method of grinding that uses an abrasive liquid rather than direct tool contact. Most grinding processes involve a work tool making direct contact with a work piece in order to gouge material away. In ultrasonic machining, a liquid filled with abrasive material flows through over the work piece, and the work tool vibrates against the abrasives. The abrasive materials affect the work piece and remove material. Since the tool doesn’t directly touch the work piece, the pressure and tool materials used in ultrasonic machining are often very different from those used in more common machining techniques.

The key to an ultrasonic machining process is the abrasive liquid. This material, called slurry, is a mixture of a free-flowing liquid and one or more types of solid abrasive. The liquid part of the slurry is generally water. For some jobs benzene, glycerol or oil may be used instead, but increasing the viscosity of the liquid will often lead to a slower process.

Since the abrasive used in ultrasonic machining slurry needs to be harder than the machined material, a wide range of abrasives are common. The basic abrasives are often silicon carbide or boron carbide, mostly due to their hardness and low cost. Occasionally, diamond dust is used to work the hardest materials.

The work tool used in ultrasonic machining is different from the ones used in a standard process. The tool is often made of a softer material with a high plasticity. This allows the abrasives to impact the tool, but not damage it the way it does the worked material. These tools are often far too soft for standard machining jobs; they would deform as soon as they touch the work piece.

The process of machining a piece ultrasonically looks similar to a normal process, but is actually quite different. The slurry flows over the work area, creating a connection between the work piece and work tool. The tool vibrates, which causes the abrasives to bounce back and forth between the piece and tool. Since the tool deforms, it absorbs the impacts of the abrasives while the work piece develops small cracks. The cracks eventually cause small pieces to break off until the machined area of the work piece matches the shape of the work tool.

The most common reason to use ultrasonic machining is when a work piece is very brittle. On a brittle substance, a standard machine process will cause the material to crack and break. This will generally result in a ruined final product. Ultrasonic machining uses thousands of tiny impacts and very little pressure to move material away from a substance. This rarely results in a break, even in very brittle materials.

About Mechanics is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
M. McGee
By M. McGee , Former Writer
Mark McGee is a skilled writer and communicator who excels in crafting content that resonates with diverse audiences. With a background in communication-related fields, he brings strong organizational and interpersonal skills to his writing, ensuring that his work is both informative and engaging.

Discussion Comments

M. McGee

M. McGee

Former Writer

Mark McGee is a skilled writer and communicator who excels in crafting content that resonates with diverse audiences....
Learn more
About Mechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

About Mechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.