Loughborough University
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Binder stabilization and rheology optimization for vat-photopolymerization 3D printing of silica-based ceramic mixtures

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-12-02, 11:18 authored by Basar Ozkan, Farzaneh SameniFarzaneh Sameni, Sarah Karmel, Daniel Engstrom, Ehsan SabetEhsan Sabet

Enhancing inlet gas temperature in aero/gas turbines to reduce their carbon-footprint, has led to a strive for better performing inlet cooling mechanism of the turbine blades. The internal cooling of the blades is made by ceramic cores in their casting process, but conventional ceramic molding has long reached its maximum possible geometrical complexity, hence shedding light on 3D printing of these cores. The objective of this study is to develop low-viscous, fully stabilized, commercially viable ink for vat-photopolymerization of silica-based ceramics. This paper investigates the best dispersion type and amount for different formulated monomer mixtures, and explains the best correlation between viscosity, solid loading, binders, dispersants, peeling forces and mechanical properties, and offers an optimized mixture to avoid the common ceramic printing issue, namely crack propagation of cores during sintering. Among five dispersant agents, the SOL20, SOL24 and FA4611 exhibited better performance than other dispersion agents, and the optimum concentration level for each binder and dispersant agent was ensured through sedimentation test. Their dispersion capability and long-term stability were further investigated to designate the best dispersion agent for each binder system. Further verification was made by sedimentation study of the samples at 40 °C for 40 days and reducing the superficial area of the used powder mixture. According to the result of the rheology analysis, the best dispersions were achieved using SOL20 for the loaded binder mixtures of M1 and M4, SOL24 for M3and FA4611 for M2. The instability of M1 and M2 with their respective dispersant agent was coordinated through the thixotropic agent of TX/2, and complete stabilization and near-Newtonian behavior were achieved. However, the research showed that the addition of TX/2 to fully stabilized M4 and M2 suspensions negatively impacts the mixtures’ rheological behavior from near-Newtonian to shear-thickening. In the final stage of this study, peeling forces, sintering and three-point bending tests were conducted to determine the final formulated suspension to print ceramic core components. M4 and SOL20 combination was selected for SiO2-ZrSiO4 loading and dispersing, respectively. The impact of solid loading between the range of 58 and 65 vol.% on the rheological behavior of the final suspension and the mechanical properties of sintered bodies were investigated to assign an optimum solid rate. The adequate strength on sintered and degree of viscosity for ceramic vat-polymerization processing was achieved at 58 vol.%. Lastly, a validation study is conducted by printing a complex ceramic core model by a commercial LCD hobby printer. This validation shows the significance of this study to scale up the manufacturing of complex-shaped ceramic cores and to revolutionize the sector, by printing inexpensive and readily available irregular-shaped (non-atomized) ceramic powder, using the most cost-effective LCD printers (non-specialized expensive ceramic printers).


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  • Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering

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Journal of the European Ceramic Society










  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

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This paper was accepted for publication in the journal Journal of the European Ceramic Society and the definitive published version is available at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jeurceramsoc.2022.11.032

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Dr Ehsan Sabet. Deposit date: 22 November 2022

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