Researchers have come up with a latest 3D printing technique for creating strong flexible ceramic structures with low porosity and cracking. Researchers said that the technique is likely to find usage in high-temperature settings at scales from microelectromechanical devices to jet engines.
The technique has leveraged polymer chemistry and UV light in some novel ways. 3D printing of ceramics has a lot of potential advantages, as it has ability of creating complex shapes that are hard to create with the help conventional methods.
The generally used additive-manufacturing techniques for ceramics involve layer-by-layer, selective curing of powder-based precursors. They have been quite slow, and have formed products, which have inappropriately high porosity and a tendency towards strength-reducing cracks.
Aiming at enhanced, faster approach, California’s HRL Laboratories’ researchers have built on past developments in 2 areas, including ceramic polymer chemistry and the in-depth knowledge of UV light control in the additive-manufacturing process.
The chemistry of inorganic preceramic monomers was tweaked by researchers to make the monomers build into polymer chains after getting UV light exposure. Inorganic preceramic monomers have been in use for so many years for synthesizing ceramic fibers and similar materials.
Thereafter, the researchers experimented with many approaches to spatial control of additive manufacturing with the help of a resin of these UV-curable preceramic monomers.
There was one interesting technique in which the monomer additives were specially used so that they not just facilitate polymerisation, but also bring a change in the index of refraction of the resin when it polymerises.