Digital Light Processing (DLP) technology exhibits the capability of producing components with complex structures for a variety of technical applications. Postprocessing of additively printed ceramic components has been shown to be an important step in determining the final product resolution and mechanical qualities, particularly with regard to distortions and resultant density. The goal of this research is to study the sintering process parameters to create a nearly fully dense, defect-free, ceramic component. A high-solid-loading alumina slurry with suitable rheological and photopolymerisable characteristics for DLP was created. TGA/DSC analysis was used to estimate thermal debinding parameters. The sintering process of the debound parts was studied by employing a numerical model based on thermo-viscoelasticity theory to describe the sintering process. The validated Finite Element Modelling (FEM) code was capable of predicting shrinkage and relative density changes during the sintering cycle, as well as providing meaningful information on the final shape. Archimedes’ principle and scanning electron microscope (SEM) were used to characterise the sintered parts and validate the numerical model. Samples with high relative density (>98.5%) were produced and numerical data showed close matches for predicted shrinkages and relative densities, with less than 2% mismatch between experimental results and simulations. The current model may allow to effectively predict the properties of alumina ceramics produced via DLP and tailor them for specific applications.
- additive manufacturing
- numerical modelling