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Additive manufacturing (AM) processes for materials is becoming an increasingly popular topic in the manufacturing world for their ability to create complex shapes and have relatively short times in producing products. Novel AM processes for creating ceramic parts is on the rise and have shown promising results in mechanical strength and visual aesthetics. Digital Light Processing (DLP) of zirconium oxide (zirconia) has recently made the spotlight for biomedical applications. The main focus of this project was to create a process to develop zirconia parts to be used in dental applications such as tooth crowns. The two materials analyzed were both yttria-stabilized zirconia, with one having more translucent properties (Zpex Smile) for realistic tooth imitation. The first powder (TZ-3Y) was able to reach a density of 5.88 g/cm3 (97% theoretical), 1241 HV, 770.7 MPa compression strength, 180.1 MPa bending strength, and 26% light transmission at 1 mm thickness. The Zpex Smile showed similar properties, but with slightly higher strength and transmission. It showed 5.92 g/cm3 (98%) density, a hardness of 1467 HV, 1467 MPa compression strength, 3.71 MPa*m0.5 fracture toughness, and 33.3% light transmission at 1 mm thickness. This project showed the feasibility of 3D printing zirconia parts and the possibility of reaching theoretical values in mechanical properties.
Advisor: Bai Cui