The implementation of ceramics in emerging applications is principally limited by the final machining process necessary for producing microcomponents with complex geometries. The addition of carbon nanotubes greatly enhances the electrical properties of insulating ceramics allowing electrical discharge machining to be used to manufacture intricate parts. Meanwhile other properties of the ceramic may be either preserved or even improved. For the first time, a silicon nitride/carbon nanotubes microgear is electrically discharge machined with a remarkably high material removal rate, low surface roughness, and low tool wear. This offers unprecedented opportunities for the manufacture of complicated ceramic parts by adding carbon nanotubes for new engineering and biomedical applications.

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DOI: 10.1016/S1369-7021(11)70214-0