Solid Freeform Fabrication of Ceramic Parts from Filler Loaded Preceramic Polymers
Manufacturing of ceramic parts was achieved by selective laser treatment of a preceramic polymer (polysiloxane) loaded with ceramic filler powder (alumina). Thin layers of polymer/filler powder mixture were sequentially cured with a CO2-laser (λ=10.6 µm) thereby generating the geometrical shape of the part. Subsequently, the cured thermoset part was annealed in nitrogen atmosphere at 600 to 1000 °C to convert the compact into a Si-OC/Al2O3 micro-composite material. Dimensional changes upon pyrolysis (∆l/l0 ≈ 3 %) can be controlled by adjusting the polymer-to-filler ratio and the heat treatment conditions. The new process is called Selective Laser Curing (SLC).