Ceramics Study

How to Gain Better Perspective in Direct Ink Writing with X-ray Microtomography

By Nils Achilles / October 05, 2021
Additive manufacturing (AM), also known as 3D printing, is the construction of a three-dimensional object from a CAD model or a digital 3D model. It has become increasingly popular over the past several years due to its unique benefits. AM enables the creation of specific geometries such as channels or undercuts that are not possible with conventional manufacturing methods. The fact that it requires no special tools for manufacturing is especially beneficial for small series or single part production as it reduces time and cost. It also requires less material as you use only what is required for the specific design.
 
Much like an artist sculpting a masterpiece, additive manufacturing requires imagination, strict attention to detail and the perspective to identify any obstacles that will interfere with the finished piece. This is especially important when the end product is a critical part to be used in a medical device, automotive or aerospace product where safety and quality are of the utmost importance. Silicon Nitride, a ceramic compound, is often used in these applications because of its physical stability, heat resistance, bio compatibility and electrical properties.
 
One of the most used additive manufacturing methods for ceramics is Direct Ink Writing (DIW). DIW applies a liquid-phase ink which should have a consistency similar to toothpaste. It is dispensed out of small nozzles under controlled flow rates and deposited along digitally defined paths to fabricate 3D structures layer by layer. However, printing bulk parts by DIW is quite challenging. Aspects like the printing strategy or drying parameters can have a significant influence on the quality of the resulting sample. The printing process only creates the green parts. After that is completed, the process of sintering begins. This process poses additional problems that are also very important to consider.
 
KYOCERA Fineceramics Precison GmbH, an expert in the art of 3D printing of fine ceramics, teamed up with the University of Padova in Italy, one of the top 250 universities in the world to investigate these challenges. Kyocera offers precise and efficient fine ceramic solutions for a wide range of applications including aerospace, semiconductor and other industries who require unique printing properties for their products.
 
Yxlon supported the research project by utilizing x-ray microtomography to test the residual pore structure in silicon nitride bars manufactured by DIW using different printing patterns. This white paper will outline the findings and demonstrate how nondestructive testing performed with x-ray microtomography can help you gain a better perspective in DIW.

What you will learn:
  • Why direct ink writing (DIW) is a great AM solution for ceramics, and which challenges have to be mastered
  • How the printing strategy, incl. the choice of material, the preparation, and the drying process, affects the product quality
  • How computed tomography can enrich and accelerate your research

Download the whitepaper here.
Click here to watch the recorded webinar.