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J Am Ceram Soc. 2009;92(Suppl 1):S70-S78.

Lost Mold-Rapid Infiltration Forming of Mesoscale Ceramics: Part 2, Geometry and Strength Improvements.

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  • 1Department of Materials Science and Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802.


Iterative process improvements have been used to eliminate strength-limiting geometric flaws in mesoscale bend bars composed of yttria-tetragonal zirconia polycrystals (Y-TZP). These improvements led to large quantities of high bend strength material. The metrology of Y-TZP mesoscale bend bars produced using a novel lost mold-rapid infiltration-forming process (LM-RIF) is characterized over several process improvements. These improvements eliminate trapezoidal cross sections in the parts, reduce concave upper surfaces in cross section, and minimize warping along the long axis of 332 x 26 x 17 mum mesoscale bend bars. The trapezoidal cross sections of earlier, first-generation parts were due to the absorption of high-energy ultraviolet (UV) light during the photolithographic mold-forming process, which produced nonvertical mold walls that the parts mirrored. The concave upper surfaces in cross section were eliminated by implementing a RIF-buffing process. Warping during sintering was attributed to impurities in the substrate, which creates localized grain growth and warping as the tetragonal phase becomes destabilized. Precision in the part dimensions is demonstrated using optical profilometry on bend bars and a triangular test component. The bend bar dimensions have a 95% confidence interval of < +/-1 mum, and the tip radius of the triangular test component is 3 mum, consistent with the UV-photolithographic process used to form the mold cavities. The average bend strength of the mesoscale Y-TZP bend exceeds 2 GPa with a Weibull modulus equal to 6.3.

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