- R&D 100 Awards
Additively Manufactured High Temperature Polymer-Derived Ceramics are a pre-ceramic resin for additive manufacturing of high temperature ceramics via stereolithography and subsequent heat treatment. These unique preceramic photopolymer materials enable additive manufacturing of free-form ceramics with high strength (>300MPa) and high thermal stability (>1600°C) using low-cost, commercially available desktop stereolithography printers. The polymer-derived ceramic additive manufacturing approach uses ultraviolet light to cure first-of-their-kind preceramic photomonomer resins in near net-shape via a layer-by-layer printing process. The cured polymer structures are then pyrolyzed in an inert atmosphere furnace to directly convert them to a complex geometry ceramic. Because the pyrolysis conversion step occurs with uniform, predictable shrinkage and no porosity generation, the resulting ceramic components possess the high intrinsic thermal and environmental resistance of ceramics at a fraction of the cost and time of traditional manufacturing processes, such as hot isostatic pressing or chemical vapor infiltration.The innovation has applications in propulsion (impellors, propellers, vanes), industrial processing (combustors, casting forms, metal filtration), medical devices, hot structures (thermal protection systems), RF/optical systems (mirror backings, apertures), microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) and semiconductor processing.