The problem is figuring out how to produce 3D print ceramics.
A new study has found that a type of ceramic could be used in future space programs because of its incredible strength properties.
Ceramics have the benefit of being able to endure an extreme amount of heat and pressure without any warping or breaking, making them ideal for scientific experiments, according to Popular Mechanics.
The problem is figuring out how to produce 3D print ceramics. Their findings in the journal Science attempt to tackle this problem.
The 3D ceramics would work like any other 3D printed object. They would basically print consecutive layers of ceramic particles suspended in a resin. But the problem with this approach is that scientists are limited to the ceramics that are available to you, which means ceramics at lower temperature.
The problem is that scientists are limited by the ceramics they can use. Fusing together particles of ceramics in a surface, scientists are forced to confine themselves to ceramics at a lower end of the temperature spectrum.
Also, ceramics tend to contain pores and other flaws that could result in a messy process of creating a metarial by fusing many of them out of the spectrum.
“Researchers have developed a way to create ceramics using 3D printing that results in a strong material with little tendency to crack that can be fabricated into complex, curved and porous shapes,” the statement reads. “Ceramic materials offer many appealing qualities, including high-temperature stability, environmental resistance, and high strength. But unlike polymers and some metals, ceramic particles don’t fuse together when heated. Thus, the few 3D printing techniques that have been developed for ceramics have slow production rates and involve additives that increase the material’s tendency to crack.
“Zak Eckel and colleagues were able to improve upon these processes by using silicon- and oxygen-based polymers that, upon polymerization, trap the UV light so that additives aren’t needed for the UV curing steps,” the statement reads. “Once the polymer is printed, the part is heated to a high temperature to burn off the oxygen atoms, thus forming a highly dense and strong silicon carbide product. Using electron microscopy to analyze the end product, the researchers detected no porosity or surface cracks. Further tests reveal that the ceramic material can withstand temperatures of 1,400⁰ Celsius (2552⁰ Fahrenheit) before experiencing cracking and shrinkage. The authors note that these developments, which also create a more efficient ceramic-production process, hold important implications for numerous high-temperature applications, such as in hypersonic vehicles and jet engines.”