Ultraviolet Curing of Highly Loaded Ceramic Suspensions for Stereolithography of Ceramics
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Ceramic green bodies can be created using stereolithography methods where a ceramic slip consisting of 45-55 vlo ceramic powder is dispersed within an ultraviolet-curable aqueous acrylamide solution. Two ceramic materials were investigated: silica [Si02] for investment casting purposes, and alumina [AI203] for structural parts. After mixing the powders in the curable solution, the ceramic slip is tape cast onto a substrate for cure under a high intensity ultraviolet lamp (220-450 nm) at different exposure times. The materials systems were evaluated at different solids loadings (10-50 v/o) for cure thickness and viscosity control. Silica had a cure depth of 330 f.lm at a solids loading of 55 vlo, and at 50 vlo, alumina had a cure depth of 300 f.lm. Preliminary work utilizing scattering theory revealed the cure depth is controlled by the particle size and the refractive index difference between the ceramic and ultraviolet solution. The refractive index difference is the dominating factor. Two particle size distributions of alumina were used to more accurately determine the effect of particle size.