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Use of phase inversion processes for additive manufacturing of ceramics

: Scheithauer, Uwe

Demmer, Axel ; Fraunhofer-Institut für Produktionstechnologie -IPT-, Aachen:
DDMC 2014, Fraunhofer Direct Digital Manufacturing Conference. Proceedings : March 12-13 2014, Berlin
Stuttgart: Fraunhofer Verlag, 2014
ISBN: 3-8396-9128-1
ISBN: 978-3-8396-9128-1
Direct Digital Manufacturing Conference (DDMC) <2014, Berlin>
Fraunhofer IKTS ()
Fraunhofer IPA ()

Powder bed based processes for additive manufacturing (AM) of ceramics have the disadvantage of insufficient material density of the produced ceramic components. The use of suspensions with high powder volume content instead of the dry powder bed is imperatively to manufacture dense ceramic products. A new approach for such suspension based AM of ceramics uses a phase inversion process. The paper shows the principle possibilities of this process. It is based on the different solubility of a polymer in different, but mixable liquids. For example the polymer polysulfon is well soluble in N-methyl-pyrrolidone (NMP) and it is not soluble in water. The ceramic powder can be dispersed in NMP with a certain amount of polysulfon to prepare a suspension with high solid loading which can be coated with doctor blade layer by layer on the AM working platform and water is printed in the suspension layer using inkjet-technology. At the contact between printed water and suspension (developed for zirconia powder) the solvent of the polymer is displaced by the water and the polymer coagulates resulting in a green ceramic layer or component. Also the reverse way is possible: dispersion of the ceramic powder in water and printing of a NMP/polysulfone.