02 March 2022
Reorientation of suspended ceramic particles in robocasted green filaments during drying
This work considers the fabrication of ceramic parts with the help of an additive manufacturing process, robocasting, in which a paste with suspended particles is robotically extruded. Within the final part, the material properties depend on the orientation of the particles. A prediction of the particle orientation is challenging as the part usually undergoes multiple processing steps with varying contributions to the orientation. As the main contribution to the final particle orientation arises from the extrusion process, many corresponding prediction models have been suggested. Robocasting involves, however, further processing steps that are less studied as they have a smaller influence on the orientation. One of the processing steps is drying by natural convection, which follows directly after the extrusion process. A quantification of the reorientation that occurs during drying is mostly unknown and usually neglected in the models. Therefore, we studied the amount of reorientation of suspended particles in robocasted green filaments during drying in detail. For our study, we applied the discrete element method, as it meets various requirements: The exact particle geometry can be resolved precisely; particle–particle interactions can be described; the paste composi-tion is reproduced exactly; the initial particle orientation can be set in accordance with the prediction from the analytical models for the extrusion part; macroscopic force laws exist to represent capillary forces due to the remaining fluid phase that remains during drying. From our study, we concluded that the magnitude of particle reorientation during drying is small compared to the orientation occur-ring during the extrusion process itself. Consequently, reorientation during drying might further be neglected within analytical orientation prediction models.