Studies on Selective Gelation Printing and Microwave Sintering of Alumina and Zirconia Samples

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Alfred University. Faculty of Ceramic Engineering. Kazuo Inamori School of Engineering.
Selective Gelation Printing (SGP) is a new Rapid Prototyping (RP) technique for producing complex shaped ceramic parts. The method is based on gelation of ceramic powder slurries containing alginate binder with specific multivalent cations to build high green density ceramic bodies. When this technique is combined with microwave sintering, it becomes a very fast and energy efficient ceramic processing method. In the present study, the effect of different parameters on viscosities of Selective Gelation Printing slurries were studied, as well as sintering temperature and time effects on final density of microwave sintered samples. These samples were characterized with respect to hardness, density and grain size differences. In addition, energy consumption and temperature ramp rates of microwave and conventional heating were compared. Similar high densities were achieved with microwave sintering and conventional sintering. Microwave sintering cycles were much shorter in comparison to conventional sintering process. Also, microwave sintering proved to be more energy efficient compared to conventional sintering based on manufacturing of individual samples.