CerAMake

Lead Participant: Kw Special Projects Limited

Abstract

"AM (Additive Manufacturing) offers significant benefits over many conventional production methods: digital production flexibility, reduced material waste and exceptional design freedom. Processing ceramic by AM offers the potential to create complex parts without tooling and offers precise material control which is not possible by conventional processing methods. The widespread adoption of ceramic AM technology is however hindered by material availability, process maturity, material properties and cost. In particular, the inability to melt ceramics and the requirement for organic phases to aid processing, create significant barriers.

In the CerAMake project novel material chemistry will be developed which exploits the unique processing characteristics of piezoelectric inkjet technology providing significant microstructural control and improved properties via a scalable ceramic binder jetting platform. Advanced material characterisation and evaluation techniques will be applied to validate the suitability of the material throughout the process chain, providing a baseline chemistry applicable to a wide variety of ceramic materials. This will result in the first ceramic AM technology capable of achieving highly complex parts in a rate capable system suitable for multiple market sectors.

CerAMake is also focused on uniform deposition of powder based feedstock material as a substrate for the novel fluid chemistry. Conventional deposition methods limit the range of material/powder particle sizes which can be used, generate anisotropic properties and produce low powder bed density resulting in high part porosity or significant firing shrinkage. The novel deposition process used in CerAMake is designed to uniformly compact the print bed, resulting in higher powder density and homogeneity of the green specimen, aiding the development of mechanical isotropy in the final part. This homogeneity is also essential for uniform densification of unfired parts, facilitating the fabrication of fully dense, complex ceramics.

To demonstrate the innovation in the new approach, material requirements from three distinct sectors of the ceramics industry (high performance ceramic manufacture, refractory filter production and, decorative and practical homewares) will be identified, produced and functional demonstrators manufactured for evaluation by end-users.

This new integrated material and process capability will act as an enabler for increased uptake of ceramic AM in the UK, leading to higher levels of confidence and investment. This will boost the productivity and competitiveness of the partners in the project and will have a transformative effect on the UK ceramics industry as well as placing the UK AM sector in a leading position."

Publications

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