Desktop Manufacturing of Refractory Ceramics

Period of Performance: 12/15/1998 - 06/15/1999


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

TDA Research, Inc.
12345 W. 52nd Ave. Array
Wheat Ridge, CO 80033
Principal Investigator

Research Topics


A method is proposed for production of high density, refractory ceramic materials using Selective Laser Sintering (SLS). Conventional methods of solid freeform fabrication have been used to produce ceramic materials, but it is difficult to make a material that sinters to its full density without deformation due to shrinkage. SLS is useful in producing intricate parts while overcoming these problems, but because of the low packing density of the powder beds being sintered, a porous ceramic results. By using a green material in the SLS, process with a higher packing density, an improved ceramic material will be obtained. Zirconia promises to be a good material for fabrication of parts that require erosion and corrosion resistance, high stiffness and deformation resistance such as diesel engine parts. However, it is very difficult to produce the fine structure necessary in these parts by traditional ceramic processing. TDA will team with a large ceramics manufacturer to produce a fabrication method using SLS to sinter a high density zirconia medium to produce a refractory ceramic part for a diesel engine from a CAD model. This method will be applicable to the production of parts from other materials with minimal equipment and design changes. BENEFITS: The SLS method developed in this work will produce intricate parts from high density refractory ceramics in a short time without part specific tooling. Commercial applications include production of parts for diesel engines and other complex erosion resistant components that are difficult to make with conventional ceramic Processing.