SiCeram and Spectrum Filaments have announced a line of four new ceramic materials for FDM desktop 3D printers.
The new materials are the result of a collaboration between SiCeram, a German manufacturer of high-tech glass and ceramic components, and Spectrum Filaments, a Polish manufacturer of consumables for 3D printers. Companies have introduced four polymer-based composite materials with ceramic fillers. A polyamide is used as a polymer binder agent. The materials can be used both for 3D printing of ceramic prototypes and green objects with subsequent polymer etching and sintering.
This approach allows to print complex geometries, which is typical for additive technologies. Such technique also makes machining relatively easy, since the removal of support structures and surface finishing can be carried out in green state of the printed components, when the physical and mechanical properties are determined by the binding polymer and not by ceramics. The manufacturers focused on rapid prototyping and additive fabrication of small-scale complex-shaped end products with internal hollow spaces, for example. 3D printing with new ceramic filament is carried out at the extrusion temperature of 150°C-170°C with a bed temperature of 40°C-50°C.
Silicon carbide is an extremely hard semi-conductor with excellent corrosion resistance. The material can be applied in air up to 1550 °C and up to 1800 °C in inert atmosphere with the higher strength than at room temperature. The thermal conductivity of 120 W/mK is higher as compared to stainless steel. Its high compression strength is 4000 MPa.
Silicon nitride demonstrates higher strength and fracture toughness than silicon carbide with the very low coefficient of linear thermal expansion. This allows for a higher thermal shock resistance of the material. Silicon nitride itself is an electrical insulator that demonstrates thermal conductivity of 30 W/mK. The very low wettability by non-ferrous metals and glass melts allows to use the material for tooling with the maximum operating temperature of 1300 – 1400 °C.
Aluminum oxide shows 60 % lower strength than silicon carbide and silicon nitride at room temperature. Aluminum oxide is an electrical insulator with a fairly good heat conductivity of 20 – 30 W/mK. The corrosion resistance varies depending on the range. In the acidic range it’s decent, but in the basic range it’s insufficient.
Zirconium dioxide has high fracture toughness and strength. Due to its high coefficient of linear thermal expansion it can be easily bonded to stainless steel. It also exhibits a good corrosion resistance in the range of pH < 7 and lacking in the range of pH > 7.
All 3D models in the illustrations were printed on a BCN3D Sigma 3D printer. The new filaments were presented at Formnext 2019 in Frankfurt. Ceramics FDM 3D printing can be really exciting not only for you, but also for your friends and family. Imagine showing your kid this amazing futuristic technology. If you feel excited about ceramics 3D printing and thinking of getting into additive technologies yourself, check out this 3D printer buying guide. With this guide, you’ll easily figure out what machine you need.