Mesoscale Edge Characterization
Shilling, Katharine Meghan
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In mesoscale manufacturing desired dimensional and surface characteristics are defined, but edge conditions are not specified in design. The final edge conditions that exist in mesoscale objects are created not only by the manufacturing process but, because of their size, also by part handling procedures. In these parts, the concern is not only with burrs, which can be formed by some mesoscale manufacturing processes, but also with the shape and size of the edge. These properties are critically important as the edge can constitute a large percentage of the smallest features of mesoscale objects. Undefined edge geometry can result in measurement, assembly, and operational difficulties. Due to the potential problems caused by edge conditions, it is desirable to have the ability to measure and characterize the edge conditions of parts. This thesis considers mesoscale measurement tools to provide an edge measurement tool recommendation based on edge size and properties. A set of analysis techniques is developed to determine the size and shape of the measured edge, locate any local inconsistencies such as burrs or dents, and track trends in calculated parameters as a function of edge position. Additionally, a standard method for communicating design requirements is suggested in order to differentiate between acceptable and unacceptable edges.