3D printing of nanoceramics: Present status and future perspectives
AbstractIn materials research involving additive manufacturing (AM)-based techniques for fabrication of a wide variety of materials, the latest trend at present is to focus largely on 3D printing (3DP) of nanoceramics, which at present is highly challenging, from both fundamental and industrial viewpoints inspite of the tremendous versatility offered by these techniques in terms of addressing design complexities -. The two main reasons for the same are: (i) low density and (ii) poor mechanical properties of nanoceramic parts fabricated using 3DP techniques -. The fundamental reason behind the two aforementioned features of 3DP-fabricated nanoceramic parts is the huge extent of microstructural inhomogeneity arising primarily due to variation in cooling rates during 'point by point', 'line by line' or 'layer by layer' deposition methodology followed in 3DP techniques -, leading to a number of defects in the microstructure , . Moreover, the industrial application of nanoceramic parts manufactured using 3DP techniques, is rather limited, primarily owing to the high manufacturing cost associated with these nanoceramic parts. Although, in the last ten years, there has been a considerable volume of work on 3DP-based techniques for manufacturing ceramic parts with enhanced densities and improved mechanical properties, however, there is limited understanding on the correlation of microstructure of 3DP-fabriated nanoceramic components with the mechanical properties. On the other hand, in the recent decade, the 'correlative' methodology of characterising microstructures from micro to nanoscale, involving a number of different structural and chemical characterisation techniques, for the study of a number of defects ranging from the equilibrium point (or 0-D) to non-equilibrium volume (or 3-D) defects, has been hugely employed in a number of metallic materials -. This has completely revolutionised the understanding of structure-property correlation and microstructural defects in these materials and paved a whole new dimension towards a systematic correlation of structure (ranging from bulk to nano-scale) to a wide range range of properties in these materials. However, in the context of 3DP-fabricated nanoceramic parts, at present, there is hardly report on understanding structure-property correlation using the aforementioned methodology. The present review is aimed to review some of the most commonly used 3DP techniques for the fabrication of nanoceramics and provide an overview of the future perspectives, associated with the necessity towards developing a systematic structure-property correlation through 'correlative' characterisation methodology in these materials.