Material and know-how

Technical ceramic components exhibit a high mechanical, chemical, thermal and electrical resistance.

Ceramic materials are inorganic, non-metallic materials and, by definition, are at least 30% crystalline.

A ceramic material is defined by the process of forming and subsequent sintering, typically at over 1500°C, whereby sintering determines the final properties of the material.

Generally the first two ceramic materials we use are:

Aluminium oxide Al2O3

Al2O3, more commonly known as alumina, is the most widely used and well researched ceramic material, attributable to its ready, worldwide availability, easy processing and low cost. Aluminium oxide is exceptionally tough and can meet most mechanical and chemical requirements.
It is preferred particularly for its high-temperature stability and extraordinary hardness, surpassed only by few materials (e.g. diamonds, SiC).
The material shows exceptionally good elecrical insulation properties and high dielectric strength, which enables many applications, for example as an electrical insulator.

Properties:Applications:
• resistant to very high operating temperatures • burner nozzles
• extraordinary hardness• cutting tools
• very good corrosion resistance to acid and alkaline solutions• laboratory crucibles
• bioinert • artificial hip joints and implants
• good electrical insulation properties• coil shells
• consistently high Young’s modulus• wire/thread guides

Zirconium oxide (zirconia) ZrO2

ZrO2 has the highest mechanical strength, with properties similar to steel (Young’s modulus, coefficient of thermal expansion), as well as very low thermal conductivity. Thanks to its excellent tribological properties, it has attracted particular attention in technology (sliding components) and in medical applications (artificial hip joints). The final properties of ZrO2 are determined by variable additions of dopants such as Y2O3, thereby widening the areas of application significantly compared to other ceramics.

Properties:Applications:
• Young’s modulus and coefficient of thermal expansion similar to steel• metal-ceramic composites
• high flexural strength• centring pins, ceramic springs
• high toughness• heat insulation
• very low thermal conductivity• tribological pairing

Tricalciumphosphat (TCP)

TCP ist ein bioresobierbarer Werkstoff, welcher in der Medizin zum Aufbau der Knochensubstanz verwendet wird. Der Körper baut das TCP langsam ab und formt daraus eine Nährlösung, mit der an dieser Stelle der Knochen aufgebaut werden kann. Nach vollständiger Auflösung hinterlässt das TCP-Implantat einen natürlichen Knochen.

Damit das Gewebe TCP auflösen kann, um den Knochen aufzubauen, muss es in einer Struktur vorliegen, die der Knochenstruktur am nächsten kommt. Da die Struktur des Knochens eine hohe Interkonnektivität aufweist, ist die Herstellung mittels der generativen Fertigung die einzige relevante Herstellungsmethode.

ZTA/ATZ

Zirconia toughened alumina or alumina toughened zirconia is a mixed ceramic composite of Al2O3 and ZrO2. As a result it combines the positive properties of both materials to enhance, for example, the bending strength of ZrO2 or the hardness of Al2O3.

Properties:Applications:
• high Young’s modulus• ball bearings
• high hardness
• extraordinary toughness

Silicone nitride Si3N4

Silicon nitride combines excellent fracture toughness with high flexural strength and a high Young’s modulus, making it ideal for use as ball bearings or in any application that requires good flexural strength and toughness.

Properties:Applications:
• hardness• thread guides for the textile industry
• high toughness• centring pins
• bioinert
• good electrical insulation properties
• ideal for metal-ceramic composites
• high flexural strength
• very low thermal conductivity

Silicate ceramics

Silicate ceramics is a collective term for materials with a SiO2 based glassy phase of over 20%. Manufactured for the most part from raw materials such as clay minerals, their natural origin explains the low price level of this group of materials.

Amongst the various different subgroups and applications of silicate ceramics, steatite, cordierite and porcelain are used for the production of technical ceramics. Early developments in the field of technical ceramics began with the use of silicate ceramics for their excellent electrical insulation properties, which are determined by their exact chemical composition.

Properties:Applications:
• low dielectric loss• dielectric material
• high dielectric strength• high voltage insulator
• high thermal shock resistance• electric heat technology (e.g. in an iron) / kiln furniture

Know-how

Additive manufacturing
Using our own LCM process (Lithography-based Ceramic Manufacturing), we are able to produce almost any geometry otherwise impossible with other forming methods. As this process avoids tooling costs, we can accommodate quantities as low as 1.

3D_Additive_production_en

Injection moulding
For injection moulding, a warm feedstock, consisting of a ceramic powder mixed with a thermoplastic binder, is injected into a cold mould, where it hardens. Ceramic injection moulding ensures low-cost production of large batches of small parts with a complex geometry. Small batches are not cost-effective due to the rather high tooling costs for injection moulding.

Extrusion
Using a screw extruder, the material is pushed through a die to produce a continuous section. Its geometry may be complex but allows only two dimensions. Extrusion is a highly cost-efficient forming method particularly for rotationally symmetrical geometries such as pipes. 

Dry pressing – uniaxial
The powder or granules are filled into a mould and pressed with a hydraulic press. This method ensures short machine cycles with excellent dimensional accuracy. Long-pitch pressure strokes can, however, result in uneven compaction. Uniaxial dry pressing therefore lends itself to the production of flat parts with complex geometries.

Dry pressing – isostatic
The ceramic material is evenly compacted in a flexible mould in the pressure container, before the green body is shaped through cutting. The result ensures a high degree of flexibility and dimensional stability of the geometry. Isostatic dry pressing is used, for example, for the production of artificial hip joints.

Tape casting
Some applications require a ceramic material in the form of a very thin tape. This is the case for substrates, condensers, piezo elements and sensors. Tape casting offers the ideal solution here. The slurry for tape casting consisting of ceramic particles and an organic binder is spread in a thin layer onto a carrier film. Once dry, the film exhibits leather-like qualities and can be stamped, laminated and cut to achieve the required geometry after firing.

Steinbach AG – your professional partner for technical ceramics in 3D-printing

With us you have a professional contact partner serving you from the consulting up to the delivery of your 3D-ceramic components. Call us, we are looking forward to the new technical challenge.

Any queries regarding this product? Then contact us using this form or call:

+49 5231 9607-73

We will be happy to advise.

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