ETH ZUrich: Ceramics 3D printed from foams

An electron microscope reveals the fine structure of the 3D-printed ceramic foam. (Image: from Minas et al, 2016, Adv. Materials)

ETH researchers have used an additive manufacturing process to print an extremely porous ceramic component. Manufacturing a material of this kind with a 3D printer is a considerable achievement.

By:  Peter Rüegg

Doctoral student Carla Minas, from the Complex Materials group led by ETH Professor André Studart, has succeeded in creating a highly porous and yet extremely robust ceramic material, which she “printed” using an additive manufacturing process. The trick here was to use an “ink” consisting of a stable ceramic emulsion that did not collapse during or after printing. Using this technique, it is possible to manufacture complex porous structures like those found in nature in the form of bones or diatoms.

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