Advancing the manufacturing of complex three-dimensional ceramics parts with a novel photoinhibition aided ceramic photopolymer based additive manufacturing (PinCPAM)

Principal investigator: Xiayun Zhao

University: University of Pittsburgh

Industry partners: Kennametal, Inc.

Ceramics possess valuable properties in harsh environment of ultrahigh temperature or extreme corrosion. However, ceramics lack machinability and processability, impeding their applications. While ceramics are typically consolidated from powders by sintering, additive manufacturing (AM) has potentials to transform ceramics manufacturing due to its forming flexibilities. Photopolymerization based AM (PAM) offers one most promising technology to fabricate complex 3D ceramic components by selectively curing a photopolymer resin mixed with ceramic particles. However, PAM of ceramic suspensions encounters special issues complicated by the material behavior (e.g., ceramic suspension perturbation, polymeric species dilution and reduced reactivity) and the process characteristics (e.g., attenuated light penetration and detrimental light scattering). This project aims to develop a fast DLP-based photoinhibition aided CPAM (PinCPAM) process by enhancing light penetration and reducing layering forces via exploiting photoinhibition to enable the use of high-intensity irradiation for photopolymerization and to increase the photoinhibition zone thickness. It can improve the process accuracy and printed part quality as well. To achieve the goal, four major research tasks will be performed including building a prototyping machine, developing a material system, modeling and simulation analysis, and experimental validation. The green ceramics parts fabricated by the developed PinCPAM process will be further sintered into dense ceramic components and tested to demonstrate the applicability of PinCPAM to advanced ceramic manufacturing.