Scientists from Hong Kong have learned to print ceramics

On existing models of three-dimensional printers can print virtually anything from any desired material. However, experts from the University of Hong Kong found a surprise: they learned to type parts of complex shape from ceramic, using the technology of 4D printing.

For starters, let’s examine what is the essence of the technology of 4D printing: it allows you to create parts according to the method similar to that used in ordinary three-dimensional printing, but then the final pieces will change shape when exposed to temperature, pressure, light, magnetic fields and so on.

According to the editors of the journal Science Advances, these goals were even developed a special ceramic ink. In their composition ceramic particles connected with polymer plasticizing. As stated by lead author of the study Professor Zheng Liu,

“The words are all pretty simple. The whole process can be compared to applying a cream topping on the cake. What you get depends on the viscosity of cream, shape, temperature, applied pressure, speed of extrusion and mass parameters. So choose the appropriate parameters in our case was extremely difficult. It took us two and a half years.”

After years of testing, scientists were able to create a resilient ceramic precursor and a printer for printing using two methods: the first stage is the creation of the workpiece and a second lapping with special conditions. At this stage, the deformation occurs through the use of the kinetic energy inherent in the polymer component of the ink.

As a demonstration of the technology, the scientists printed the shell-shaped Sydney Opera house

On assurance of authors, the elastic structure can be stretched three times without weakening the strength. After firing in a kiln the resulting details are difficult to distinguish from real ceramic.

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