Now the application of ceramic materials is more concerned than ever, because of a series of trends: on the one hand, some am technologies are now able to process advanced ceramic materials; on the other hand, there are low-cost technologies that can use ceramic materials as ideal materials for end use, and products that are biocompatible and even food compatible. Ceramic technology can provide ideal mechanical properties and 3D printing function, and can shape ceramic parts in complex high-resolution geometry, which was impossible in the past.
Ceramic materials can be divided into four types
Structural ceramics - for building tiles, pipes and roof / floor tiles etc
Refractory ceramics - kilns and crucibles for steel and glass.
White furniture - includes tableware, decorative tiles, artwork and bathroom furniture (toilet / sink, etc.).
Technical ceramics - advanced ceramic materials with high mechanical, chemical, thermal and resistive properties, commonly used in aviation, automotive, military and medical applications; generally, clay free.
In the field of 3D printing and additive manufacturing, ceramic materials are still catching up with polymer and metal materials. In ceramic 3D printing, significant research and commercial applications have been and will continue to be carried out, but it is not as popular as other material categories.
The special feature of ceramic materials used for 3D printing is post production. Parts taken out of 3D printers need to undergo the same secondary processing as any ceramic parts produced by traditional production methods - namely firing (also known as sintering) and glazing (depending on the application). The 3D printing phase of the whole process is to produce the desired part shape, which remains fragile due to the nature of the ceramic material - known as the green part. Typically, the secondary process of sintering or firing at temperatures greater than 800 ℃ is basically where "strength" is added to the component and the final properties of the material are determined.
As mentioned earlier, ceramic 3D printing has attracted more and more attention from research and new business entities in the past decade, including hardware and process development, material development, application development, and the emergence of specialized services providing commercially available and proprietary ceramic 3D printing services.
At present, there are three main 3D printing processes for ceramic materials, namely adhesive spraying, material extrusion and groove photopolymerization, namely stereolithography (SLA) and digital light processing (DLP).
Major 3D printing hardware suppliers of adhesive spray systems for processing industrial (technical) ceramic materials include 3dsystems (through the previous acquisition of Z Corporation and subsequent development); voxeljet and exone. This process depends on the technology, the powder bed of the ceramic material and the liquid binder material selectively bonded to the powder.
What's interesting about the JM application is that the company cites the ability to expand the adhesive spray process more easily than other additive manufacturing processes, where the strength of the components is equal to or higher than traditional production methods. Moreover, the characteristic which is usually considered as the limitation of AM porosity of ceramics is actually beneficial to the production of catalysts.
Material extrusion process is one of the most widely used 3D printing processes, which is suitable for low-cost desktop systems and large industrial machines. The development of different extruders for various materials also includes clay and ceramic filled polymers.