Campus FWS > PhD Program > Additive Manufacturing of complex 3D topologies from smart and functional materials

Additive Manufacturing of complex 3D topologies from smart and functional materials

Prof. Dr. J. Günster, Prof. Dr. D. Möller, Prof. Dr. J. Melcher

Combining complex structuring and functional properties of materials can result in a significant enhancement of the functionality or even enable new functions in so called functional structures. Besides the use in structural engineering, ceramic material can provide a variety of additional functions. Electroceramics (including ferroelectric, multiferroic and antiferroelectrics), complex oxides as ion conductors, transparent, photoactive and micro/meso-porous ceramics are major representatives for this class of materials. The ability to build up complex structures is a fundamental benefit of Additive Manufacturing (AM), but everyone familiar with ceramic processing is aware that this class of materials is particularly tricky to process: fusing ceramic powders to a monolithic component requires elevated temperatures; they cannot be cross-linked like resins and, unlike most polymers and metals, they cannot be plastically deformed, with the consequence that the state-of-the art in AM of polymers and metals is much more advanced than for ceramics. For this reason, preceramic polymers have attracted the interest of scientists and engineers around the world in the field of AM.

Preceramic polymers are a special class of polymers which can be converted to a ceramic material with a high ceramic yield. The main idea is a sort of workaround of the shaping problem for ceramics: they can be shaped by taking advantage of the properties of them being a polymer, and only successively converted to a ceramic. Similarly to polymers, depending on their composition, they can be cross-linked, plastically deformed, melted or dissolved in many solvents. In this polymeric state it is even possible initiating self-organized structural relaxations of 3D printed structures by, e.g., their partially melting.

 This project will develop strategies for the self-organized optimization of 3D printed topologies providing superior structural and functional properties. In the focus of interest are ceramic materials, which are directly 3D printed or derived from 3D printed polymeric precursors.

Lower right: powdery preceramic core-shell structure from 3D printing, lower left, after annealing and subsequent melting of the shell structure which infiltrates the porous core structure.

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