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Powder-based Additive Manufacturing: beyond the comfort zone of powder deposition

  • In powder-based Additive Manufacturing (AM) processes, an object is produced by successively depositing thin layers of a powder material and by inscribing the cross section of the object in each layer. The main methods to inscribe a layer are by binder jetting (also known as powder 3D printing) or by selective laser sintering/melting (SLS/SLM). Powder-based AM processes have found wide application for several metallic, polymeric and also ceramic materials, due to their advantages in combining flexibility, easy upscaling and (often) good material properties of their products. The deposition of homogeneous layers is key to the reproducibility of these processes and has a direct influence on the quality of the final parts. Accordingly, powder properties such as particle size distribution, shape, roughness and process related properties such as powder flowability and packing density need to be carefully evaluated. Due to these requirements, these processes have been so far precluded toIn powder-based Additive Manufacturing (AM) processes, an object is produced by successively depositing thin layers of a powder material and by inscribing the cross section of the object in each layer. The main methods to inscribe a layer are by binder jetting (also known as powder 3D printing) or by selective laser sintering/melting (SLS/SLM). Powder-based AM processes have found wide application for several metallic, polymeric and also ceramic materials, due to their advantages in combining flexibility, easy upscaling and (often) good material properties of their products. The deposition of homogeneous layers is key to the reproducibility of these processes and has a direct influence on the quality of the final parts. Accordingly, powder properties such as particle size distribution, shape, roughness and process related properties such as powder flowability and packing density need to be carefully evaluated. Due to these requirements, these processes have been so far precluded to find commercial use for certain applications. In the following, two outstanding cases will be presented. A first example is that powder-based AM processes are widely used for many metallic and polymeric materials, but they find no commercial application for most technical ceramics. This seemingly contradicting observation is explained by the fact that in powder based AM, a dry flowable powder needs to be used. The processing of technical ceramics in fact typically requires very fine and poorly flowable powder, which makes them not suitable for the standard processes. There have been several approaches to adapt the raw materials to the process (e.g. by granulation), but in order to maintain the superior properties of technical ceramics it seems necessary to follow the opposite approach and adapt the process to the raw materials instead. This was the motivation for developing the Layerwise Slurry Deposition (LSD), an innovative process for the deposition of powder layers with a high packing density. In the LSD process, a ceramic slurry is deposited to form thin powder layers, rather than using a dry powder. This allows achieving high packing density (55-60%) in the layers after drying. It is also important, that standard ceramic raw materials can be used. When coupled with a printing head or with a laser source, the LSD enables novel AM technologies which are similar to 3D printing or selective laser sintering, but taking advantage of having a highly dense powder bed. The LSD -3D printing, in particular, offers the potential of producing large (> 100 mm) and high quality ceramic parts, with microstructure and properties similar to traditional processing. Moreover, due to the compact powder bed, no support structures are required for fixation of the part in the printing process. Figure 1 shows the schematics of the working principle of the LSD-3D print and illustrates some examples of the resolution and features achievable. The second outstanding case here described is the application of powder-based AM in environments with reduced or zero gravity. The vision is to be able to produce repair parts, tools and other objects during a space mission, such as on the International Space Station (ISS), without the need of delivering such parts from Earth or carrying them during the mission. AM technologies are also envisioned to play an important role even for future missions to bring mankind to colonize other planets, be it on Mars or on the Moon. In this situation, reduced gravity is also experienced (the gravitational acceleration is 0.16 g on the Moon and 0.38 g on Mars). These environments cause the use of AM powder technologies to be very problematic: the powder layers need to be stabilized in order to avoid dispersion of the particles in the chamber. This is impossible for standard AM powder deposition systems, which rely on gravitation to spread the powder. Also in this case, an innovative approach has been implemented to face this technological challenge. The application of a gas flow through a powder has a very strong effect on its flowability, by generating a force on each particle, which is following the gas flow field. This principle can be applied in a simple setup such as the one shown in Figure 2. In this setup, the gas flow causes an average pressure on the powder bed in direction of the arrows, generating a stabilizing effect which acts in the same direction of the gravitational force. This effect can be used in addition to normal gravity on Earth to achieve a better stabilization of 3D printed parts in the powder bed. In this case, even a significant increase of packing density of the powder was measured, compared to the same experimental setup without gas flow. This is due to the fact that the force on each single particle follows the gas flow field, which is guiding the particles to settle between the pores of the powder bed, thus achieving an efficient packing. The same principle can be applied in absence of gravitation, where the gas flow acts to stabilize the powder layers. It has been shown that ceramic powder could be deposited in layers and laser sintered in µ-gravity conditions during a DLR (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt) campaign of parabolic flights, as shown in Figure 2. A follow-up campaign is dedicated to the deposition of metallic (stainless steel) powder in inert atmosphere and to study the effects of laser melting in µ-gravity. In conclusion, the description of these two example cases shows how the development of novel technological processes can address some of the limitations of standard powder-based AM, in order to enable the use of new materials, such as technical ceramics, or to tackle the challenges of AM in space.zeige mehrzeige weniger

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Metadaten
Autoren/innen:Andrea Zocca
Koautoren/innen:Pedro Lima, Jörg Lüchtenborg, Jens Günster, T. Mühler
Dokumenttyp:Vortrag
Veröffentlichungsform:Präsentation
Sprache:Englisch
Jahr der Erstveröffentlichung:2018
Organisationseinheit der BAM:5 Werkstofftechnik
5 Werkstofftechnik / 5.4 Keramische Prozesstechnik und Biowerkstoffe
DDC-Klassifikation:Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / Ingenieurwissenschaften / Ingenieurwissenschaften und zugeordnete Tätigkeiten
Freie Schlagwörter:3D-printing; Additive Manufacturing; Powder; SLM
Themenfelder/Aktivitätsfelder der BAM:Material
Material / Materialien und Stoffe
Veranstaltung:WMRIF 2018 Early Career Scientist Summit
Veranstaltungsort:London, NPL, UK
Beginndatum der Veranstaltung:18.06.2018
Enddatum der Veranstaltung:22.06.2018
Verfügbarkeit des Dokuments:Datei im Netzwerk der BAM verfügbar ("Closed Access")
Datum der Freischaltung:24.10.2018
Referierte Publikation:Nein