Additive Manufacturing of Alumina Components by Extrusion of In-Situ UV-Cured Pastes
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Additive manufacturing of ceramic materials is an attractive technique for rapid prototyping of components at small scales and low cost. We have investigated the printing of alumina pastes loaded at 70-81.5 wt% solids in a UV curable resin. These can be deposited by extrusion from a syringe head on a Hyrel System 30M printer. The print head is equipped with an array of UV LEDs, which solidify the paste without the need for any applied heating. Parameters optimized include print speed, layer height, applied force, and deposition rate. Using A15 alumina and submicron A16 powder precursors, we can achieve bulk densities of 91% and 96% of theoretical density respectively. The influence of dispersants and surfactants added to the powder on the rheology of the pastes, the print process parameters, and the quality of the final components are also investigated.