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Robocasting of carbon-alumina core-shell composites using co-extrusion

: Fu, Z.; Freihart, M.; Schlordt, T.; Frey, T.; Kraft, T.; Greil, P.; Travitzky, N.


Rapid Prototyping Journal 23 (2017), Nr.2, S.423-433
ISSN: 1355-2546
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft DFG
TR 250/6-1
Fraunhofer IWM ()
additive manufacturing; CFD simulation; co-extrusion; colloidal gel; hollow ligament; Robocasting

In this study, fabrication of 3D core-shell filament based lattice structures was achieved by means of robocasting combined with co-extrusion. For core and shell materials, colloidal gels composed of submicron carbon and alumina powders were developed, respectively. Simultaneously, the co-extrusion process was also studied by numerical simulation to investigate the feed pressure-dependent wall thickness. Design/methodology/approach: Significant differences in the rheological behavior of the carbon and alumina gels were observed due to differences of the particle morphology and surface chemistry of the carbon and alumina powders. Precise control over the cross-sectional diameter of the core and shell green state elements was achieved by alteration of the feed pressures used during co-extrusion. Findings: After subsequent thermal treatment in an oxidizing atmosphere (e.g. air), in which the carbon core was oxidized and burned out, lattice structures formed of hollow filaments of predetermined wall thickness were manufactured; additionally C-Al2O3 core-shell filament lattice structures could be derived after firing in an argon atmosphere. Originality/value: Green lattice truss structures with carbon core and alumina shell filaments were successfully manufactured by robotically controlled co-extrusion. As feedstocks carbon and alumina gels with significantly different rheological properties were prepared. During co-extrusion the core paste exhibited a much higher viscosity than the shell paste, which benefited the co-extrusion process. Simultaneously, the core and shell diameters were exactly controlled by core and shell feed pressures and studied by numerical simulation. The experimentally and numerically derived filament wall thickness showed qualitative agreement with each other; with decreasing core pressure during co-extrusion the wall thickness increased.