Pushing the boundaries of ceramic additive manufacturing (cam) with visible light initiated polymerization (vip)

Principal investigator: Xiayun Zhao

University: University of Pittsburgh

Industry partners: Kennametal, Inc.

Ceramic materials exhibit intriguing properties due to their chemical inertness, heat-resistance, light weight, and high strength. Additive manufacturing (AM) of ceramics offers unprecedented design freedom to realize complex structures and novel functionalities. Photopolymerization based AM (PAM) is one of the most promising AM technology that can precisely fabricate complex 3D ceramic components. Ceramic AM (CAM) can be achieved by using ultraviolet (UV) light to selectively cure photopolymer resin to bind ceramic particles into a 3D green body, followed by a thermal sintering to consolidate the green part. However, the ceramic suspensions tend to block the UV light and thus hinder the photopolymerization process, reducing the printing speed and weakening the ceramics binding strength. This project aims to push the boundaries of photopolymerization based CAM by studying visible light-initiated polymerization-based CAM (ViP-CAM). The newly developed ViP-CAM processes are expected to increase light penetration and thereby improve the process speed and part quality. Different ViP mechanisms and material systems are explored. The green ceramics parts fabricated by the developed ViP-CAM process will be further sintered into dense ceramic components and tested to demonstrate the potentials of the developed ViP-CAM process in advancing ceramic manufacturing.