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Material extrusion additive manufacturing of zirconia: from filament characterisation to Weibull statistics

Luigi Morfini (Dipartimento di Meccanica, Matematica e Management (DMMM), Politecnico di Bari, Bari, Italy and Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN) – Sezione di Bari, Politecnico di Bari, Bari, Italy)
Fankai Meng (Department of Mechanical Engineering, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium and Department of Materials Engineering, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium)
Margherita Beretta (Department of Materials Engineering, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium and Department of Electromechanical Systems, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium)
Jozef Vleugels (Department of Materials Engineering, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium)
Roberto Spina (Dipartimento di Meccanica, Matematica e Management (DMMM), Politecnico di Bari, Bari, Italy and Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN) – Sezione di Bari, Politecnico di Bari, Bari, Italy, and)
Eleonora Ferraris (Department of Mechanical Engineering, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium)

Rapid Prototyping Journal

ISSN: 1355-2546

Article publication date: 30 April 2024

Issue publication date: 17 May 2024

148

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to investigate the performance of filament-based material extrusion additive manufacturing (MEX), combined with debinding and sintering, as a novel approach to manufacturing ceramic components.

Design/methodology/approach

A commercial ZrO2 filament was selected and analysed by infra-red (IR) spectroscopy, rheology and thermo-gravimetry. The influence of the print parameters (layer thickness, flow rate multiplier, printing speed) and sintering cycle were investigated to define a suitable printing and sintering strategy. Biaxial flexure tests were applied on sintered discs realised with optimised printing strategies, and the results were analysed via Weibull statistics to evaluate the mechanical properties of printed components. The hardness and thermal conductivity of sintered components were also tested.

Findings

Layer thickness and flow rate multiplier of the printing process were proved to have significant effect on the density of as-printed parts. Optimised samples display a sintered density >99% of the theoretical density, 20% linear sintering shrinkage, a characteristic flexural strength of 871 MPa with a Weibull modulus of 4.9, a Vickers hardness of 12.90 ± 0.3 GPa and a thermal conductivity of 3.62 W/mK. Gyroids were printed for demonstration purposes.

Originality/value

To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this work is the first to apply biaxial flexure tests and Weibull statistics to additively manufactured MEX zirconia components, hence providing comparable results to other additive technologies. Moreover, fractography analysis builds the connection between printing defects and the fracture mechanism of bending. This study also provides guidelines for fabricating high-density zirconia components with MEX.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors acknowledge Frederik Desplentere for support in the filament diameter characterisation. The authors thank Prof. Luigi Galantucci of Politecnico di Bari for his precious suggestions and support. Part of this work is conducted in the framework of the SBO-FWO project Multi-Material Additive Manufacturing for Electrical Machines with increased performance (AM4EM, S001721N), funded by FWO-Vlaanderen.

Citation

Morfini, L., Meng, F., Beretta, M., Vleugels, J., Spina, R. and Ferraris, E. (2024), "Material extrusion additive manufacturing of zirconia: from filament characterisation to Weibull statistics", Rapid Prototyping Journal, Vol. 30 No. 5, pp. 919-927. https://doi.org/10.1108/RPJ-10-2023-0374

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2024, Emerald Publishing Limited

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