Creating Spaceships with 3D Printed Ceramics
Many people were fascinated with ceramics that you can find in different parts of the world. There are a lot of things that are made of ceramics such as plates, vases, and dolls that your grandmother usually collects. Though these objects definitely look beautiful, you will feel nervous of holding them because they can easily get broken. Yet, NASA will use 3D printed ceramics in creating spaceships but not the ceramics that your grandmother have at home.
Ceramics can be considered ideal materials for creating spacecraft because it is lightweight and strong and has the ability to resist heat. However, it can be very hard to release the potentials of ceramics with the use of 3D printing because you cannot combine the particles together when heat is applied. The only reason why you will find it desirable is the way on how you will utilize the material.
How 3D Printed Ceramics Can Be Used for Spacecraft
You will no longer have to question on how you will use the material in a 3D printing procedure because a team of scientists has found the answer. The team was created by Zak Eckel who is a Senior Chemical Engineer, Chaoyin Zhou who is a Senior Chemist, and D. Tobias Schaedler who is a Senior Scientist. They have accepted the challenge of creating an innovative material from ceramics that has been used in different applications in various industries. The material can withstand temperature over 1700 degrees Celsius and it is also made 10 times stronger compared to the same materials. They can construct all the materials from large components to the small ones such as jet engines, hypersonic vehicles, electronic device packaging, and the complicated parts of microelectromechanical systems.
The Process of Creating the Ceramics
If you are interested to know how the scientists have come up with the formula in creating the ceramics, then you can easily find the information journal Science. Despite the popular qualities that ceramics have, you will definitely experience troubles in creating 3D printed versions. It is not that easy to cast the ceramic materials and there are also limitations when it comes to its geometric potentials. In order to unlock the flexibility of the material, the researchers have produced a material that is capable of printing like a plastic. With the presence of UV light that connects the monomers to polymers, the material will be etched. You will have to surround it with argon gas and will have to undergo a process called pyrolyzing with a temperature of 100 degrees Celsius.
The 3D polymer structures will be formed that are available in intricate shapes and with cellular architecture. It can also provide excellent performance better than those materials produced using other methods. You can pyrolyze the structures to ceramics with consistent shrinkage without creating porosity. They are stronger than the ceramic foams with the same density. This is the first time that they have created a 3d printed version of silicon carbine ceramics. It also opens a door for the development of 3D printing in the future.