Lithoz & ORNL Collaborate to Advance High-Performance 3D Printed Ceramics


Ceramics are no mystery in part production across different sectors. Key industries such as the aerospace, defense, and general industrial sectors have found great value in the robust properties and unmatched endurance of ceramics in extremely high temperatures. In the most recent development, Austrian company Lithoz GmbH has struck a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) of the U.S. Department of Energy, aimed at advancing the use of high-temperature ceramics, as revealed by Lithoz on December 5.

The central focus of this partnership is to employ Lithoz’s 3D printing technology to further non-oxide ceramics process research in additive manufacturing. The parties involved are pooling their resources to generate 3D-printed non-oxide ceramic components that can withstand very high temperatures. The goal is to scale the additive manufacturing of these ceramics for industrial application.

Corson Cramer, a staff scientist with the Extreme Environment Materials Processing Group at ORNL, states, “This project will build on ORNL’s years of research in the development and testing of high-temperature materials and ceramics. By integrating our expertise with Lithoz’s 3D printing prowess, we foresee a revolutionary change in how high-temperature ceramics are processed for use in heat exchange, aerospace, and defense applications.”

Carving the Path to Ceramic Innovation with Lithoz and the ORNL

Lithoz’s innovative 3D printing technology, Laser-Induced Slipcasting (LIS), is a game changer for the 3D printing industry. With the use of laser slurry drying or net shaping technology, LIS allows for the production of complex geometric parts on a much larger scale. The technology allows for the inclusion of intricate internal channels within the 3D printed design, making the parts lighter and more efficiently produced. Additionally, the range of materials that can be processed is expanded, catering to darker ceramics like silicon carbide and silicon nitride.

As part of the agreement with ORNL, Lithoz’s technology will be further developed and tested to ascertain its full potential. The performance of the technology will first be tested with a common oxide ceramic material. Subsequent steps will involve 3D printing from a primary material, such as silicon nitride and silicon carbide. These materials will then be removed from the molded component in the following phase.

This phase is of crucial importance to the agreement’s objective of producing high-performance ceramics for extreme temperatures. Silicon nitride and silicon carbide are highly sought after in the aerospace industry. Following the debinding step, the substance is transformed back into a solid via sintering and then tested for its performance and properties. The ability to manufacture ceramic parts for extremely high temperatures on an industrial level could open up new application areas in aviation, aerospace, defense, and various high-performance applications across industries. For more information, click HERE.

We would love to hear your thoughts on the new agreement between Lithoz and ORNL. You can let us know your thoughts in the comments below or on our LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter pages! Don’t forget to sign up for our free weekly Newsletter here, for the latest 3D printing news delivered straight to your inbox! You can also find all our videos on our YouTube channel.

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