HYbrid sintering and advanced Machining of technical CERamics
Where all other materials fail, technical ceramics are being applied because of their superior properties such as high hardness, excellent thermal stability, chemical resistance and wear resistance. This is why ceramic materials are being used in a whole variety of industrial and medical applications, such as compressors components, tools for cutting and punching, bearings, medical implants, etc.
As a result of these superior properties (hardness, wear resistance, brittleness, etc.) technical ceramics are difficult to machine into a finished shape with high dimensional accuracy and low surface roughness when traditional cutting operations (e.g. drilling, turning, milling, etc.) are used. Innovative sintering techniques make it possible to embed an electrically conductive phase into ceramic materials. By adding this conductive phase, ceramics can be processed more easily using advanced machining operations such as ultrasonic machining, electric discharge machining (EDM), laser assisted cutting operations and laser based machining.
On a laboratory scale it is already possible to produce these new ceramic composites with high reliability using hybrid Spark Plasma Sintering (SPS). In this process electrically conductive powders are pressed into blanks using a combination of Joule and Inductive heating. One of the goals of the HYMaCER project is to upscale this process, so larger blanks can be manufactured. Creating large blanks would allow the production of larger ceramic parts or allow more parts to be manufactured from a single blank. Furthermore the production of large blanks could also lower the cost of producing ceramic components, which would attract more industrial- and end-users to apply these new materials.
To show the industrial relevance, the HYMaCER project covers the entire process chain from the production of the blanks up to the manufacturing of finished parts. The SME’s in the project each fill in a specific part in this process chain. Starting with the supply of SPS furnaces (FCT Systeme GmbH), the production of the blanks (Nanoker) and the machining of the blanks into parts (Ceratec and ARTooling). RTD partners (KU Leuven, CSIC-CINN, Tekniker) support the SME’s to implement the new knowledge of the production of the blanks and machining of the blanks.
Project reference: 606390
Programme acronym: FP7-SME
Subprogramme area: SME-2013-1
Contract type: Research for the benefit of specific groups