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Piezoelectric component fabrication using projection-based stereolithography of barium titanate ceramic suspensions

Xuan Song (Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, USA)
Zeyu Chen (Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, USA)
Liwen Lei (Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, USA and School of Material Science and Engineering, Wuhan University of Technology, Wuhan, China)
Kirk Shung (Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, USA)
Qifa Zhou (Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, USA)
Yong Chen (Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, USA)

Rapid Prototyping Journal

ISSN: 1355-2546

Article publication date: 16 January 2017

1099

Abstract

Purpose

Conventional machining methods for fabricating piezoelectric components such as ultrasound transducer arrays are time-consuming and limited to relatively simple geometries. The purpose of this paper is to develop an additive manufacturing process based on the projection-based stereolithography process for the fabrication of functional piezoelectric devices including ultrasound transducers.

Design/methodology/approach

To overcome the challenges in fabricating viscous and low-photosensitive piezocomposite slurry, the authors developed a projection-based stereolithography process by integrating slurry tape-casting and a sliding motion design. Both green-part fabrication and post-processing processes were studied. A prototype system based on the new manufacturing process was developed for the fabrication of green-parts with complex shapes and small features. The challenges in the sintering process to achieve desired functionality were also discussed.

Findings

The presented additive manufacturing process can achieve relatively dense piezoelectric components (approximately 95 per cent). The related property testing results, including X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscope, dielectric and ferroelectric properties as well as pulse-echo testing, show that the fabricated piezo-components have good potentials to be used in ultrasound transducers and other sensors/actuators.

Originality/value

A novel bottom-up projection system integrated with tape casting is presented to address the challenges in the piezo-composite fabrication, including small curing depth and viscous ceramic slurry recoating. Compared with other additive manufacturing processes, this method can achieve a thin recoating layer (as small as 10 μm) of piezo-composite slurry and can fabricate green parts using slurries with significantly higher solid loadings. After post processing, the fabricated piezoelectric components become dense and functional.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The research was partially supported by National Science Foundation (NSF) CMMI-1335476 and NIH P41-EB002182.

Citation

Song, X., Chen, Z., Lei, L., Shung, K., Zhou, Q. and Chen, Y. (2017), "Piezoelectric component fabrication using projection-based stereolithography of barium titanate ceramic suspensions", Rapid Prototyping Journal, Vol. 23 No. 1, pp. 44-53. https://doi.org/10.1108/RPJ-11-2015-0162

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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