When one thinks of ceramics, porcelain dishes may come immediately to mind. And, while 3D printing is pretty being exploited to that end, a few of the many practical applications of 3D printing for ceramic material is related to high-performance ceramics, utilized for industrial purposes in that high-temperature or corrosion resistance is required. But the field of ceramics 3D printing that may truly revolutionize the way our products are manufactured is in piezoceramics, a class of high-performance ceramic materials utilized in electronics. Currently, engineers at the University of Warwick have published research relating to the 3D printing of piezoceramics with a one-of-a-kind MicroSLA innovation that may have a worthwhile impact on the electronics industry as we understand it.
Via physica status solidi (a): “The hollow, spherical ceramic shell performing as an ultrasonic transducer: (a) schematic of the experimental apparatus, (b) Fourier alter of the obtained signal revealing the dominant frequency at 2.8 MHz, (c) contour plot of the peak signal amplitude recorded in the X–Y plane by the hydrophone at 3 mm standoff.”
The team, of the school’s School of Engineering, initially turn it intod 3DPI headlines in 2012, after developing an FDM material called Carbomorph, that may be utilized for producing electronic touch sensors. Their current research, published in physica status solidi (a), takes the innovation actually farther, with the Warwick team creating a specialty light-sensitive polymer blended with ceramic material for the 3D printing of tiny, ceramic parts. Once printed, the objects are sintered in an oven to remove the polymer, leaving a dense ceramic part with piezoelectric functionality matching that of traditionally-turn it intod piezoceramics. In this study, the team 3D printed a shape with sturdy ultrasonic applications, but that may not be generated traditionally with ease. The hollow sphere printed by the team, for instance, may be utilized for underwarter microphones.
Unlike traditional approaches, 3D printing allows for for the construction of hard shapes for high-tech applications, such as in high end medical imaging scanners or aerospace component inspection devices. Because piezoceramics turn it into an electrical response when compressed or can compress in response to electrical stimulation, functional devices like airbag sensors and ultrasound scanners frequently rely on this innovation. But, up until now, those piezoceramic parts may just pick up a tiny amount of information due to shape and structural limitations.
Next, Dr Simon Leigh, one of the participants of the team, said that the group can work to improve the system additional, saying, “The following step in this work is to generate a library of materials and scale-up the system for producing much larger ceramic components.” It should be stated that the MicroSLA system implemented by the Warwick researchers is relatively affordable, according to the paper, that may manufacture large-scale use of the innovation a feasible one.