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ADMATEC | The use of AM ceramics is taking off

17/10/23

THE USE OF AM CERAMICS IS TAKING OFF

Aerospace & Defense Companies Leverage the Materials’ Intrinsic Values

Like many industry sectors, defense and aerospace companies are looking harder and deeper at additive manufacturing (AM) solutions to supply key components for their array of applications – a trend that is accelerating almost as fast as the aircraft themselves. According to technology advisory firm SmarTech, aerospace is the second largest industry segment served by AM (after healthcare).

AM, or 3D printing, oftentimes can generate parts that are more durable, aerodynamic, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly than traditional manufacturing methods. And ceramic materials are proving especially attractive in aerospace designs. In fact, it is estimated that developers have obtained more than 8,000 patents related to aerospace-grade ceramics since the early 1980s. Significant resources are being invested in the research, design and implementation of ceramic materials and products. AM ceramics create lighter, highly detailed components boasting huge structural strength, toughness, and resistance to vast temperature ranges.

Some aerospace companies are transitioning to ceramics for components including engine, exhaust, and propulsion systems (fuel systems, igniters, nozzles, rupture disks), electrical components (antennas, high-voltage feed-through connectors), and structural components (control systems, struts, ceramic braking systems).

So, what makes ceramic materials so attractive to the aviation industry?

Heat Resistance

Ceramics have been adopted for multiple applications in space vehicles including thermal protection from the exterior exhaust and interior protection in form of insulation.

Noncorrosive Qualities

Ceramics are also valued for their noncorrosive qualities. Because both aerospace and aviation design and manufacturing involve numerous corrosive and potentially hazardous materials, including jet fuel, this type of protection is critical.

Light Weight

Ceramics are used in aerospace and aviation design and production because they are a lighter alternative to metals. Smooth and typically free of any surface imperfections, this allows for greater payloads on aircraft, faster speeds for military-grade jets, and longer deadlines for space
exploration. Specific parts such as aircraft valves, seals, and hydraulic components require the high-performance properties of engineered ceramics to meet the severe conditions of high-temperature gas turbine engines, rockets motors, and control systems.

As the geometries of turbine blades become increasingly complex, it is particularly challenging to fabricate high-quality turbine blades with ceramic injection molding due to complex flow in the mold.

AM has the potential to fabricate complex ceramic components such as turbine blades and vanes with
hot temperature stability, high corrosion resistance, high wear resistance, and low thermal expansion
under severe environmental conditions.

With temperatures approaching 1800° C and singlecrystal alloys which have melting temperatures around 1400° C, the design of internal cooling is extremely important in the gas turbine engine. This results in cores which are so complex and are nearly impossible to manufacture via injection molding. But design changes of shells and cores can be done more efficiently and economically with ceramic 3D printing.

Nano Dimension’s Admatec business offers solutions ideally suited for additive manufacturing of ceramic parts for aviation and defense spaces. Both its Admaflex 130 and Admaflex 300 systems combine innovative technology with the most advanced materials to provide superior 3D printing of high-mix,
low-volume ceramics.

Admatec THE USE OF AM CERAMICS IS TAKING OFFAdmatec Admatec THE USE OF AM CERAMICS IS TAKING OFF

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best Prototype or Innovation

 

Admatec THE USE OF AM CERAMICS IS TAKING OFF

Duplex Fuel nozzle : Aristo-Cast Inc. (Almont, Michigan)

Material : Stainless steel.

Process : Printed investment shell.

Weight : 115 gramsDimensions: 2.5 x 1.5 x 1.5 in.

Application : Aircraft jet engine and land-based turbines.

Customer: Internal design/ proof of concept

  • This fuel nozzle from Aristo-Cast creates a fuel spray pattern for complete combustion.
  • Created as a proof of concept, the fuel nozzle was produced using the printed investment casting shell (PICS) process. Similar designs are produced using direct metal laser sintering (DMLS), but the PICS method cuts costs by 50% or more while eliminating barriers to creating a successful investment casting.

Admatec THE USE OF AM CERAMICS IS TAKING OFF

Admatec THE USE OF AM CERAMICS IS TAKING OFF

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Admaflex open concept offers full control and optimal flexibility of production-grade additive manufacturing of complex ceramic parts with the highest resolution and smoothest surfaces that can be generated around-the-clock.

With its Digital Light Processing technology, or DLP, Admaflex systems can print fine features with a high resolution and low surface roughness. Admatec offers a variety of materials that provide
superior mechanical, electrical, thermal, biological, and chemical properties to ceramic AM parts that
are applicable in aviation and defense. They are continually looking to add new materials to the
portfolio as well.

Admatec THE USE OF AM CERAMICS IS TAKING OFF

Admatec THE USE OF AM CERAMICS IS TAKING OFF

 

 

 

 

 

  • Article from our partner Admatec                                                                              

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