This paper aims to provide a review on the process of additive manufacturing of ceramic materials, focusing on partial and full melting of ceramic powder by a high-energy laser beam without the use of binders.
Selective laser sintering or melting (SLS/SLM) techniques are first introduced, followed by analysis of results from silica (SiO2), zirconia (ZrO2) and ceramic-reinforced metal matrix composites processed by direct laser sintering and melting.
At the current state of technology, it is still a challenge to fabricate dense ceramic components directly using SLS/SLM. Critical challenges encountered during direct laser melting of ceramic will be discussed, including deposition of ceramic powder layer, interaction between laser and powder particles, dynamic melting and consolidation mechanism of the process and the presence of residual stresses in ceramics processed via SLS/SLM.
Despite the challenges, SLS/SLM still has the potential in fabrication of ceramics. Additional research is needed to understand and establish the optimal interaction between the laser beam and ceramic powder bed for full density part fabrication. Looking into the future, other melting-based techniques for ceramic and composites are presented, along with their potential applications.
Sing, S.L., Yeong, W.Y., Wiria, F.E., Tay, B.Y., Zhao, Z., Zhao, L., Tian, Z. and Yang, S. (2017), "Direct selective laser sintering and melting of ceramics: a review", Rapid Prototyping Journal, Vol. 23 No. 3, pp. 611-623. https://doi.org/10.1108/RPJ-11-2015-0178
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