At the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems in Dresden, Germany researchers have come up with a new additive manufacturing method for creating all sorts of medical tools, implants, dentures, and anything else that requires multiple ingredients and a complex design. The 3D printing technique works with glass, ceramic, plastic, and metals, allowing the designer to combine any combination of these into a single product.
The new technology uses suspensions of the materials, thanks to a thermoplastic binder that’s liquid at only around 180°F (80°C ). This allows each layer to quickly cool down to room temperature and for the next one to be deposited. The viscosity of the suspension can be regulated to optimize it for specific situations.
Most importantly, as the researchers say, is that various products can be built with the design focus being the final product rather than the limitations of the manufacturing process that make it possible.
According to Dr. Tassilo Moritz, of Fraunhofer IKTS’s “Materials and Processes” business division, “To date, ceramic microreactors have mostly been milled out of plates. Internal and external sealing have always been a technological challenge for this. And there has been the problem of making connections that fit. Now we can just print them onto the ceramic component during manufacturing in whatever form.”