What are ceramic materials? Are plates, pottery and porcelain tiles examples of ceramic? Well, in short, yes they are! A ceramic product is typically hard, porous, and durable. Ceramics are popular in both ancient and modern cultures due to their wide range of applications in both everyday life and high-end technology. Examples include pottery, tiles, bricks, figurines. But, more interestingly engineering applications such as engine parts, fuel tanks, heat sinks, kilns, nuclear reactors, rocket engines and heat exchangers work well in ceramic.
There are two types of ceramic. Traditional ceramics and advanced ceramics. Traditional ceramic family tend to be clay based so include; earthenware, stoneware, porcelain, clay and bone China. Then advanced ceramics which tend to be oxides and non-oxides rather than clay based ceramics.
The creation of ceramics is an ancient art form that dates back thousands of years. Ancient potters used fire to create vessels from a variety of clays, as well as stones such as jade and obsidian. Today’s modern ceramists use a variety of techniques to create their masterpieces, including wheel throwing, hand building, and mold making. And more interestingly for engineers 3D printing.
Manufacturing parts in ceramic is possible in a number of ways. These include machining, slip casting and 3D printing. You will find most information on this website concerning the process of 3D printing complex shapes in advance ceramics. You can learn more about our services on our Products page. But read on to learn more about the topic of; What are ceramics?
Industry is most interested in Advanced ceramics or Technical ceramics as these are hard wearing and suitable for high temperature or wearing environments. You can divide advanced ceramics into two main categories. Firstly oxides like alumina and zirconia and non-oxide ceramics such as carbides, nitrides, borides and silicides. Examples of these would be Silicon nitride and Silicon carbide.
Ceramic materials have fantastic material character for certain parts like bearings, dental implants, space components that require;
- Good mechanical strength
- High hardness
- Resistance to thermal shock
- Very resistance to wear
- Good electrical insulation
- Resistant to corrosion; liquids, gas and abrasion
- Review the properties of ceramic materials used in our printers by visiting our materials guide.
Ceramic is a great favorite for aerospace, aviation, investment casting, electronic, optical, medical and luxury markets. Secondly, we believe ceramic materials should replace many parts made of metal. Certainly, we believe it is likely these applications would benefit from being made in ceramic. In short, if you would like to discuss a project where ceramic could help please get in touch.
A real case study
A great example of a project that used ceramic 3D printing is that of a company producing Venturi burners. 3D printing ceramics for a Venturi burner is the perfect example of a part which requires extreme temperature resistance and customisation. Indeed, the shape of the venturi burner will determine the performance in the oven.
Therefore, the cone angle of the venturi burner determines the size of the flame and thus the temperature and the oven atmosphere. A broad cone triggers an oxidizing flame, whereas a narrow cone produces a reducing flame. Indeed, for portable heating equipment a venturi burner is an intrinsic component. The ability to change the flames characteristic by customising the design with ceramic 3D printing is a real competitive advantage.
Ceramic or Metal
Ceramic is more complicated to produce using traditional processes than steel. We can now make all kinds of shapes in ceramic. Indeed, ceramic can resist temperatures up to 1500°C. Moreover, it’s wear resistance is higher than that of metal. This extends the useful life of the part. Importantly, the internal channels of a venturi burner are quite complex to produce using only traditional ceramic manufacturing methods.
Thus, making a custom designed venturi burner in ceramic impossible without ceramic 3D printing. Alumina made parts are not more complicated than other materials to produce. 3D printing makes it possible to print internal channels, hollowed out parts as well as overhangs. Moreover, it is possible to producing a part yourself is less than a week. This offers designers the ability to bring products to market much quicker.
3D Matters have searched the market for the best fully functional and proven capable technologies. It is for this reason that we are proud to work with the leading manufacturers of Additive Manufacturing equipment.
In conclusion, we specialise in the design, printing and post processing of hard-wearing materials including ceramic and metals. Could the materials properties of ceramic be an advantage to your next project?
You can learn more about our services on our Products page.