A Digitally-Driven Hybrid Manufacturing Process for the Flexible Production of Engineering Ceramic Components

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Hinter, J.
Basu, D.
Flynn, D.F.
Harris, R.A.
Kay, R.W.

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University of Texas at Austin


Ceramic materials are a versatile class of materials with numerous applications across a range of industrial sectors. Predominant methods of manufacturing ceramic components use template-driven methods, which hampers responsiveness and impose significant design constraints. This has driven significant interest towards digitally-driven manufacturing approaches, primarily, additive manufacturing. Additive manufacturing has demonstrated the rapid production of bespoke and highly complex geometries and designs direct from digital data without the need for component specific tooling. Yet, when used in isolation these techniques are restricted by uncontrollable porosity, high shrinkages during firing plus a lack of process-compatible materials. This paper presents the research and development of a new hybrid manufacturing process chain for the agile production of engineering grade ceramics components. The combination of high viscosity ceramic paste extrusion, sacrificial support deposition and subtractive micro-machining has yielded complex monolithic ceramic components with feature sizes of 100µm, part densities of ~99.7%, surface roughness down to ~1µm Ra and 3-point bend strength of 218MPa. Since a wide range of materials can be formulated into visco-elastic pastes they can be readily deposited using this approach.


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