Credit: Lithoz

How can one ensure the fabrication of non-oxide ceramics with high-refractive indexes, such as silicon carbide, for use in extreme temperature applications?

Ceramic 3D printing company Lithoz’ new partnership aims to answer this one-million-dollar question. Through a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) signed with the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) and research institute Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Lithoz’s Laser-Induced Slipcasting (LIS) technology will be used to explore the processing and fabrication of parts with non-oxide ceramics.

 Unveiled last year, the LIS technology is at the heart of the CeraMax Vario V900, a 3D printer that fabricates parts using industrial water-based suspensions with very low organic binder contents. The manufacturing technology consists in using laser slurry drying, or net shaping technology to guide computer-controlled light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation that desiccates liquid-suspended controlled layers of solids.

According to Lithoz, this technology can also increase the range of materials that can be printed by processing dark ceramics, such as silicon carbide and silicon nitride,in a way that is unachievable with other processes.

The teams who will work on this project will aim to scale up the production of ultra-high temperature ceramic parts to an industrial level. To do so, they will assess the technical capabilities of Lithoz 3D printer using a common oxide-ceramic material.

This will require printing and debinding the primary material –such as silicon nitride and silicon carbide, two highly in-demand substances for aerospace applications–from the moulded component. Using heat, the substance will be formed into a solid material in a process known as sintering. The performance and properties of the printed materials will then be tested, a press communication reads.

This announcement emphasizes the diverse range of projects ORNL is conducting right now with AM companies. It is also the first publicly announced big project that will focus on Lithoz LIS technology.  Its success will help the industry assess the applications enabled by the company’s technology.

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Corporate communication and marketing expert by training at 3D Adept, Kety is currently leading the publication’s editorial and content activities. She has a unique gift for knowing how to grab an audience's attention on insights that matter – in this case, everything related to additive manufacturing. She believes that a wide range of innovations still have to be discovered about the technologies that shape the world of tomorrow and she has made it her objective at 3D ADEPT Media.