We’ve seen 3D printing technologies developed for materials beyond plastic filament like metal, cement, sand and even moon rocks. With each new material another door is open to a world of objects and parts that can be built using this technology. The additive manufacturing method has now been brought to another material — ceramics — and it could improve the strength of many things made with that material and change the way others are made.
Researchers at HRL Laboratories have created a new ceramic resin that is formulated to be used in a special 3D printer and is compatible with ultra-high temperatures.
The resin can be printed into parts of any shape and size. The objects can then be fired at temperatures up to 1700°C, creating a material that is fully dense, ten times stronger than similar materials and more resistant to abrasion and corrosion.
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While ceramics are used in many applications, they are more difficult to work with than plastic polymers or metals, mainly because they cannot be cast or machined as easily. Finished ceramics are porous which makes them weaker and limits what shapes they can take. This new method means that many more parts and objects can be created using ceramics than before.
HRL Laboratories says the new material could be used in a host of applications like parts of jet engines and hypersonic vehicles, as well as intricate parts in microelectromechanical systems and electronic device packaging.
Watch the video below to see the technology and hear more about it.