Ceramic is one of those materials that’s been in use for tens of thousands of years and is still one of the most commonplace substances today–and yet, we’re still discovering new ways to put it to work and make it better.

Though most people associate ceramics with decorative items and everyday kitchenware, in industry this material is used in a variety of high-demand and advanced applications, including ballistics, medical, and aerospace equipment.

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Industries that produce and rely on ceramic for more enduring performance specs will likely benefit most from this new 3D printable milestone, which actually makes it possible to create extra strong, extra enduring industrial ceramics in less time.

New Possibilities Through 3D Printing
The new 3D printed ceramic process isn’t quite the same as using ceramic particles or pellets to be layered into a solid shape, which is a typical method for 3D printed polymer based objects. Instead, the new ceramic process starts with a 3D printable resin that can then converted into ceramic through a firing process.

Called silicon oxycarbide ceramic, the resulting objects it forms are dense, resistant to temperatures of more than 1700 degrees Celsius, and are ten times stronger than parts made from similar materials.

The base resin and subsequent ceramic making process was developed by researchers at HRL Laboratories, LLC. According to the team’s program manager, silicon oxycarbide ceramics are not only high strength and able to withstand extreme temperatures, they’re also resistant to corrosion and abrasion.

Credit: Studio Under

Enhancing Applications And Performance
This new production method overcomes many limitations that are true of conventional ceramic manufacturing, as well the obstacles that come with casting or machining the material.

Silicon oxycarbide ceramic not only eliminates the porosity that’s common in other 3D printed and traditionally produced ceramics, the method is at least 100 times faster.

The new ceramic could be used in many applications and its enhanced properties could amount to significant structural and performance improvements in everything from hypersonic jet parts to electronic components.

Do you think this new production method and the resulting ceramic could have an impact on your industry?

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