Date of Award

Summer 2007

Degree Type

Thesis - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Domblesky, Joseph

Second Advisor

Cariapa, Vikram

Third Advisor

Rice, James


Mass finishing is considered to comprise those secondary manufacturing processes that modify the surfaces and/or edges of parts en masse. Vibratory finishing, which is one of the most commonly used mass finishing processes, is the direct result of a utilitarian production requirement. Most of the major innovations in this finishing process have been achieved in the first half of the 20th century. There has been little innovation or advancement of the art in the second half of the century with most industrial research efforts achieving small incremental process and machine design improvements. This can be attributed to the lack of scientific understanding that exists with respect to mass finishing in general and vibratory finishing in particular. This lack of fundamentals can be addressed in part by exploring the basics of material removal and factors which influence it with the ultimate intent of improving the efficiency and effectiveness of vibratory mass finishing. The mass finishing process has been incrementally improved over time. The known variables of concern have been passed along in a way not unlike the manner by which the craft trades have passed their knowledge from journeyman to apprentice. It is still not uncommon for an operator to spend several days in machinery and process setup in order to find the best combination of bowl settings, fluid mixtures and media that will produce the desired finish on a part. Knowledge about what works and what doesn't is passed from person to person rather than by training or education. Thomas Edison applied a utilitarian brute force approach to solving problems. The "1 % inspiration 99% perspiration" methodology shows the attempt to place a problem on a well reasoned base of knowledge but requires no basic scientific understanding of the problem. While this approach gave Edison forward progress when there was a lack of hard scientific information, it is not an efficient methodology for producing satisfactory results in today's global competitive manufacturing environment.



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