Solid Freeform Fabrication of Functional Silicon Nitride Ceramics by Laminated Object Manufacturing 1

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Rodrigues, S. J.
Chartoff, R. P.
Klosterman, D. A.
Agarwala, M.
Hecht, N.

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The processing of silicon nitride (Si3N4) structural ceramics by Laminated Object Manufacturing (LOM) using ceramic tape preforms was investigated. The key processing stages involved green shape formation (which used the LOM process), followed by the burnout of all organics, and final densification by pressureless sintering. Two material systems were considered. These were a) monolithic Si3N4 and b) a preceramic polymer infiltrated Si3N4. The raw materials for the process were tape preforms of Si3N4, which were fabricated by standard tape casting techniques. Mechanical property data obtained for the LOM processed Si3N4 showed high strength and fracture toughness values. The room temperature and high temperature (1260 o C) flexural strengths were in the range of 700-900 MPa and 360-400 MPa, respectively. The fracture toughness averaged from 5.5-7.5 MPa.m1/2. These strength and fracture toughness values are comparable to those reported for conventionally prepared Si3N4 ceramics. Thus, this research demonstrated that the LOM technique is a viable method for preparing functional Si3N4 ceramics with good physical and mechanical properties.


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