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Assoc. Prof. of manufacturing engineering Chao Ma from Arizona State University (ASU)’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering receives National Science Foundation CAREER award for research on innovative 3D-printing techniques.

Ceramics which are indispensable for household use and scientific applications today also serve as a catalyst in the creation of new materials in the environmental, chemical and energy sectors This versatile class of materials now has an important place in advanced industrial settings. Although conventional ceramic manufacturing processes pose challenges including structural limitations, prolonged production timelines and high costs, binder jet additive manufacturing — or BJAM — offers a solution that enhances manufacturing capabilities.

Assoc. Prof. Chao Ma who said that the largest barrier so far has been the lack of fundamental research on ceramic BJAM, earned a National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) award. The CAREER award supports faculty members with the potential to become academic role models excelling in research and education.

An image of 3D-printed ceramic objects after the sintering and infiltration process.(Image courtesy of Chao Ma)

With the $600,000 CAREER project funding, Ma is exploring a new technique to regulate the density of BJAM-produced objects across a broad spectrum to improve the material’s quality. According to Ma “BJAM will allow the production of ceramic products in almost any shape. This geometric flexibility will make it possible to manufacture products customized for use with higher quality.” BJAM offers additional advantages such as high speed, low cost and the ability to produce functional parts out of almost any material. Industries such as aerospace, health care, energy and tooling can particularly benefit from this innovative additive manufacturing technique.


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