The fabrication of complex ceramic components by novel additive manufacturing processes is here presented. Stereolithography, binder jetting, selective laser sintering of different feedstocks can be used to 3D print preforms with controlled relative density (Figure 1). These preforms are then further thermally processed to allow their final consolidation. Ceramic powders, preceramic polymers and liquid metal alloys are often used during this final stage.
Cellular ceramics are attracting hybrid materials for high temperature heterogenous catalysis because of their outstanding effective properties. Even though ceramic foams are already widely industrially employed, they show scattered properties because of their randomness. Moreover, there are only few parameters which can be varied in order to engineer their performances.
We show how, through finite element simulations, periodic cellular ceramics can be designed upon user’s requirements.
Finally, thanks to the aforementioned additive manufacturing techniques and simulations, the numerical domains can be readily transformed into physical objects.
The advantage of this procedure is its flexibility. Practically any ceramic material already produced with the standard techniques can be realized.
Figure 1: 3D printed Al2O3 lattices after sintering and during high temperature tests in flowing air at 973 K.
Alberto Ortona graduated in naval and mechanical engineering at the University of Naples in 1989, in 1992 specialized in composite materials at the Center for Composite Materials at the University of Delaware in USA. After ten years in the industry from 2006 he is professor at SUPSI and responsible of the Hybrid Materials laboratory at MEMTi. From 2014 he is faculty member of the Doctoral School of Industrial Engineering of the University of Padova (Italy). His research fields are: process engineering of polymer and ceramic matrix composites, oxide and carbide ceramics and design and additive manufacturing of complex ceramics. For MEMTi-SUPSI, he has been and he is project manager in national (INVISION, BiPCaNP, CREAM) and European, FP5 (BIOFLAM), FP6 (CEC-made-shoe), FP7 (CEREXPRO, SMARTEES, THOR, HELM, BIOROBUR) and H2020 (BIROBUR+, ECCO, HYDROSOL) projects. Nowadays his group is focusing on near to net shape design and processing of complex ceramics (oxides and carbides) by additive manufacturing. Prof. Ortona has published about 120 peer-reviewed papers and 7 patents. He is currently associate editor for the “Journal of the American Ceramic Society” and editor of the journal “Materials”, he is also member of the evaluation body for the Swiss National Science Foundation.