Ceramic Additive ManufacturingResearch & Education

University of Leoben tackles multi-material ceramic AM

Austrian university acquires CeraFab 7500 from Lithoz

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The University of Leoben in Austria recently acquired a CeraFab 7500 3D printer from Vienna-based Lithoz, a leader in ceramic additive manufacturing. The university will utilize the system for multi-material processing, becoming the first educational institution in Austria to possess the capability.

The acquisition of the ceramic 3D printer was preceded by a longstanding collaborative relationship between Lithoz and the University of Leoben’s Departments of Materials Science and Plastics Engineering. Both departments will leverage the new system to further research in the design, production and characterization of new materials with improved structural and functional properties.

“New functionalities usually require the combination of different materials or classes of materials such as metal, polymers or ceramics, which are very difficult to process together due to their different thermo-physical properties. The realization of components with complex geometries is an especially great challenge,” explained university professor Dr. Raul Bermejo Moratinos of the Chair of Structural and Functional Ceramics. “Only the development of so-called additive manufacturing processes enables the processing of different material combinations to produce complex components.”

University of Leoben Lithoz
The CeraFab 7500 system

The CeraFab 7500 has the ability to process high-resolution parts with complex geometries made from various materials, including different ceramics as well as filled and unfilled polymers and high-viscosity formulations. The system is based on Lithoz’s lithography-based ceramic manufacturing (LCM) technology, which doses a ceramic-loaded slurry into a transparent vat. The layer of slurry is then selectively exposed to a projected light from below, which cures the material. Green parts are built up layer by layer in this fashion and then they are sintered, resulting in fully dense ceramic components.

Leoben researchers will work with the CeraFab 7500 and support the development of design guidelines for the structural and functional properties of future 3D printed materials. Assistant Professor Dr. Thomas Grießer of the Chair of the Chemistry of Polymeric Materials, explained: “Concrete examples of this are high-performance ceramics for biomedicine, such as dental implants or hip joints, 3D architectures with adjusted functional properties, such as dialectrics or piezoelectrics for microelectronics, cooling elements for the electronics industry and filled photopolymers for the additive manufacture of spectacle frames or tooth replacement materials.”

Dr. Berjemo added that the 3D printer will also be used by master’s students in the materials science department. “Alongside metals and polymers, we can now map all classes of materials in teaching as materials for additive manufacturing. Students at the University of Leoben can gain additional industrial experience through internships in the field of 3D manufacturing at Lithoz.”

Earlier this month, Lithoz demonstrated the ability to 3D print multi-material parts using the CeraFab Multi 2M3 system.

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