Chemically sharpened blades provide several advantages over traditional mechanically ground blades.
According to Dr. Peter Ladwig, Hutchinson Technology’s Manager of Advanced Development, “Mechanical grinding typically produces heat as a byproduct of the sharpening process. This heat can lead to microstructural or crystallographic changes that degrade the hardness of the material at the sharpened edge. This unintended tempering or annealing may result in blade edges that quickly become dull in use. Chemically etched blades produce no heat-induced annealing that can cause blade dulling with repeated use.”
Another advantage of the chemical sharpening process is improved registration capability of the sharp edge to other features of the blade. Ladwig notes, “Because the blade edge is sharpened in the same step as the perimeter and mounting holes of the product, chemical sharpening offers superior alignment.” The better registration enables improved performance, design miniaturization, and reduced quality issues. In addition, chemical sharpening can also produce complex sharpened edge shapes in an economical fashion. Examples include serrated, curved, wavy, or otherwise non-linear blade edges.
Hutchinson Technology has utilized its chemically sharpened blade capability to produce volume components for a surgical device that will be released in early 2014.
Source: Hutchinson Technology Inc.