3D printing materials are regarded as one of the core foundations of the development of the 3D printing industry. At present, the most popular 3D printing materials are: engineering plastics, photosensitive resins, rubber materials, metal materials and ceramic materials. In addition, food materials such as colored plaster materials, artificial bone meal, cellular biological materials, and sugar are also available in the field of 3D printing.

Ceramic material

Ceramic materials have high strength, high hardness, high temperature resistance, low density, good chemical stability, corrosion resistance and other excellent characteristics, and therefore have a wide range of applications in aerospace, automotive, biological and other industries.

The ceramic powder used for 3D printing is a mixture of ceramic powder and a certain kind of binder powder. Due to the low melting point of the binder powder, laser sintering only melts the binder powder to bond the ceramic powder together. After laser sintering, the ceramic products need to be placed in a temperature-controlled furnace for post-processing at a higher temperature. The ratio of ceramic powder and binder powder will affect the performance of ceramic parts. The larger the amount of binder, the easier the sintering, but the shrinkage of the parts during the post-processing process are larger and will affect the dimensional accuracy of the parts. If the amount of binder is small, it is not easy to sinter. The surface morphology and original size of the particles are very important for the sintering performance of ceramic materials. The smaller the ceramic particles, the closer the surface is to the spherical shape, and the better the sintering quality of the ceramic layer.

Aluminum silicate ceramic powder can be used for 3D printing to make ceramic products. The 3D printed ceramic products are impermeable and heat-resistant up to 600°C. They are recyclable and safe, and can be used as ideal cookware and tableware (such as cups, bowls, plates, egg cups and coasters) and home decoration materials (such as candle holders, tiles, vases, and artworks).

Composite material

Composite material can be defined as a material with new properties at the macro (micro) level, which is formed by combining one material as a matrix and other materials as reinforcements through a certain processing method, which can utilize the advantages of all single materials in terms of performance.

The composite materials can be divided into two categories: metal and non-metal. Commonly used metal substrates are aluminum, magnesium, copper, titanium and their alloys. Non-metallic substrates mainly include synthetic resin, rubber, ceramics, graphite, carbon and so on. Reinforcing materials mainly include glass fiber, carbon fiber, boron fiber, aramid fiber, silicon carbide fiber, asbestos fiber, whisker, and metal. Composite materials are now more and more widely used in aerospace, automobiles, yachts, wind power, sports equipment and other fields.

The Arevo Labs in Silicon Valley, USA, 3D printed a high-strength carbon fiber reinforced composite material. Compared with traditional extrusion or injection molding methods, 3D printing can be used to precisely control the orientation of carbon fibers to optimize specific mechanical, electrical and thermal properties, and its comprehensive properties can be strictly set. Since 3D printed composite parts can only be manufactured one layer at a time, each layer can achieve any desired fiber orientation. The complex shape parts printed in combination with reinforced polymer materials have excellent high temperature resistance and chemical resistance.

Author's Bio: 

Alfa Chemistry Materials is a professional supplier of wide choices of 3D printing materials for customers worldwide. The materials it offered for 3D printing are diverse, including glass materials, fiber materials, durable nylon materials, gypsum materials, aluminum materials, titanium alloys, stainless steel, silver plating, gold plating, rubber materials and many more.