3D printing of transparent ceramics has recently been gaining great traction. However, there are issues regarding low transparency as well as low printing resolution. In this case, magnesium aluminate spinel transparent ceramics with transmittance reaching 97% of the theoretical limit was successfully fabricated utilizing a stereolitho graphybased 3D printing method aided by hot isostatic pressing.
Spinel ceramics are traditionally made by the use of a die press, injection mold, or slip cast, then accompanied by a hot press or hot isostatic press (HIP) heat treatment. This conventional method can produce ceramics with simple geometries, i.e. flat or curved shapes. Lately, there has been a rising market for spinel ceramics with complex shapes, such as hyper-hemispherical domes, tangent ogive domes and lenses. To tackle this need, it is imperative to innovate more on 3D computer-aided printing of spinel ceramics whereby 3D printing of spinel ceramics can greatly overcome design limitations.
Why are 3D printed spinel ceramics revolutionary?
Other than their high customizability and ability to undertake complex shapes, 3D printed spinel ceramics are distinguished from other 3D printed transparent materials such as silica glass or organic polymers. This is because they excel in their broad optical window, high hardness, exceptional high temperature stability, and chemical resistance. These qualities allow these transparent spinels to have great potential to be used in various optical lenses/windows and photocatalyst supports for application in harsh environments.
3D printing technology can greatly improve application potential and allow for new design possibilities!