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White Papers

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  • Additive Manufacturing of Ceramics - How New Applications and Improved Performance can be Unlocked Through Design Freedom

    Conventional ceramic manufacturing techniques limit the geometric complexity of ceramic components. Tooling and moulds used in forming often need to be accounted for in the design process, which can lead to certain structures being impossible to manufacture, even with the use of advanced CNC milling equipment. On the other hand, additive manufacture (AM) offers greater freedom of design, facilitating the manufacture of complex components, which are inaccessible through established manufacturing methods. This enhanced capability has resulted in new products with improved performance, which are slowly emerging into the market as ceramic AM matures and becomes more scalable.
    This white paper introduces the most common methods for ceramic additive manufacturing: stereolithography, direct ink writing (robocasting) and binder jetting. In addition, ceramic components with the potential to benefit from the design freedom offered by additive manufacturing will be explored, examples of which include: heat exchangers, filters, catalytic converters, solar receivers, static mixers and bio-scaffolds. Where applicable, prototype products manufactured at Lucideon are shown.

  • Geopolymer Matrix Composites for use at High Temperature - Fabrication, Properties and Applications

    Geopolymer matrix composites (GMCs) are a group of materials which bridge the temperature performance gap between reinforced polymers and ceramic matrix composites (CMCs). In high temperature environments where reinforced polymers would fail and need to be replaced with metals, GMCs offer a lightweight alternative suitable for service temperatures up to 1000°C whilst providing a non-brittle failure mechanism. GMCs are produced in a similar manner to carbon fibre reinforced epoxy composites whereby woven fibres are impregnated with a resin which sets to form a structure. In comparison to typical ceramic matrix composites which are sintered at high temperatures, GMCs need only mild processing conditions of below 100°C, allowing a simple route to manufacture. In addition, this low temperature processing route facilitates the inclusion of additives in the matrix which would otherwise decompose or deteriorate at typical processing temperatures for manufacturing conventional ceramic matrix composites.
    This paper will detail the processing considerations for manufacturing GMCs, the remarkable properties of such materials, applications where GMCs have been successful, and potential opportunities to exploit untapped markets. The properties and processing conditions of GMCs will be compared to that of conventional CMCs, detailing the pros and cons of each material system. Suitable geopolymer formulations for GMCs will be discussed, with detail provided on the compositional requirements to ensure thermal and chemical compatibility between the geopolymer matrix and ceramic fibre.

  • Ceramics Additive Manufacturing: A New Opportunity for the UK

    The National Centre for Additive Manufacturing, working in collaboration with Lucideon, has created a white paper which defines a route for the UK to create a globally competitive supply chain to service the growing ceramic AM market. The paper identifies key challenges facing the industry, and offers a number of development areas and opportunities for investment to position the UK at the forefront of this emerging technology.
    Ceramics are arguably the most versatile materials on the planet, featuring in every industry and with a breadth of application covering everything from decorative ornaments and tableware, to technical ceramics for harsh environments found everywhere from down hole oil drilling to earth orbiting satellites and beyond.
    Processing constraints limit further application of ceramics. This is driving growing interest in AM for companies looking to unlock a wider range of uses. Particularly the introduction of new systems designed to produce high-density technical ceramics is beginning to generate publicity that will in turn stimulate interest and ultimately trigger a rapidly growing global market.
    The ceramic AM white paper gives an overview into the ceramic AM technology, adoption challenges, solutions as well as providing a number of industrial case studies. The white paper was written by Dr Tom Wasley, who has been leading NCAMs ceramic AM capability development, industrial engagement and project delivery activities since 2016.

  • Encapsulation of Wastes Using Adapted Geopolymer Formulations

    A geopolymer formulation characterized by a low initial viscosity, suitable to immobilise a wide range of waste types such as oils, chemicals and solid waste, is introduced and characterized. The role of the specific surface area of magnesium oxide additions to the reference formulation is presented. Moreover, its capability to encapsulate different volume fractions of oil via the preparation of oil in activator solution emulsions is introduced. Lastly, the effect of oil incorporation on the density, the mechanical strength and the leaching properties of the compositions is presented and discussed.

  • Additive Manufacturing of Ceramics

    Additive Manufacturing can provide innovative forming opportunities and can offer the potential of being able to be integrated alongside traditional methods.
    In this white paper we discuss and compare the different forming techniques available.

  • Installing Refractory Linings in Petrochemical Units - Quality, not Compromise

    For owners of petrochemical plant equipment, there is always a concern about integrity and safety of these units in order to ensure no unforeseen shutdowns or that incidents, such as fires and explosions, do not take place. For these reasons, much attention is given to quality control and quality assurance relating to welding of steel parts and to ensuring that steel quality matches the design requirements.  However, the same cannot necessarily be said for refractory linings, and it is often seen as a lower priority component of a high temperature pressure vessel.

    Here are our tips on what to look out for when installing refractory linings in petrochemical units.

  • Milling Processes and Techniques

    Milling can broadly be summarized as breaking down a material powder into progressively smaller particles within a closed vessel using repeated small-scale collisions with each other, the vessel walls and often additional milling media.
    This white paper discusses some of the milling options that are available, their advantages and disadvantages, as well as focusing on how the milling process can help to control key characteristics to optimize the properties of end products in manufacturing processes.

  • Drying Processes - the Balance Between Efficiency and Product Quality

    Drying is an important process in almost all industry sectors, including ceramics, pharmaceutical, food, chemical, construction and semiconductors. This process is always concerned with two main criteria, maximizing the product efficiency and maintaining the product quality. However, in most cases, an efficient drying process often requires a high temperature to promote the evaporation of the water or any solvent from the product.
    Harsh thermal conditions can affect the product quality, i.e. lead to cracks and distortion in ceramic products, or cause deactivation of key ingredients or undesired phase transitions for food and pharmaceutical products, etc. On the other hand, to maximize product quality, a moderate temperature could be selected, which leads to low process efficiency, i.e. prolonging the drying cycles. As a result, there seems to be a dilemma between efficiency and quality inherent to the drying process. This dilemma can be resolved either by the proper selection of drying methods/dryer types or the optimization of the drying profile.

  • The Value of Drying - Choosing the Right Equipment and Methods

    Drying is an important and often necessary unit operation for many processes. It can determine the quality of the final product, determine its shelf life or expose imperfections and lead to defective products. It is also very energy intensive and time consuming, so a lot of attention should be paid to optimizing the drying step in order to make the overall process competitive.
    Drying is the removal of water or other solvents from the product, firstly from the surface, then from the pores and cracks. If done too quickly, the solvent leaves a weak structure behind and this could cause fractures or imperfections, as seen in the ceramic industry. If done at too high of a temperature, it could degrade the product, a common issue in the pharmaceutical and food industry. Moreover, drying can be a hazardous step as the removal of the solvent (when drying paints and coatings for example) can create an explosive atmosphere.

  • Introduction to BS 8654:2015, Domestic & Hospitality Use Ceramic Tableware Articles Intended for Contact with Foodstuffs - Specification

    This guide is designed to give an understanding of how the new standard (BS 8654:2015) affects both those who will operate under it and those who operated under the replaced PAS 54:2003 standard. Focus will be given to the main points that do or could require action by those affected by this or by the withdrawn standard.

  • Investment Casting of Ceramics: An Investment in Quality

    Investment or 'lost wax' casting is a key process in the manufacture of high quality engineering components such as orthopaedic implants. The process may be applied to a wide range of metals and alloys and can be used to produce both large and small castings. The application of investment casting has seen significant growth in the last 5 years with estimates placing the current market size at $US 8.6 billion and whilst US remains the largest single producer, Asian markets account for approx 35% of this value.
    This white paper examines the major issues involved with the investment casting process. The problems that can occur during pattern manufacture, shell moulding, de-waxing and casting are discussed and solutions to these problems are identified. The white paper also looks at some of the non-technical issues facing investment casting in 2011 and the future.

  • Lucideon Guide to Refractory Testing for the Glass Industry - Fusion-Cast Refractories

    Refractory materials are an essential component of the glassmaking process and can be key contributors to business success:
    - Refractories are normally the largest single component of furnace build and repair costs.
    - Refractory performance can influence furnace output and product quality and, hence, the process economics.
    - Refractory deterioration normally determines the life of the furnace and, as a consequence, the line repair schedule and its associated cost.

  • Lucideon Guide to the Performance Testing of Ceramic Dinnerware

    Typically, modern ceramic dinnerware services consist of both tableware and ovenware items; these wares are available in a wide range of shapes and decorations.
    During the service life, each item will be repeatedly heated and cooled, have contact with food, cutlery and dishwasher reagents, and as a result be subject to varying degrees of stress, mechanical impact and chemical attack. Vendors have a responsibility to demonstrate that items are able to withstand reasonable exposure to these forces, i.e. “they are fit for purpose”. To achieve this, items must demonstrate compliance to relevant legislative requirements and performance test standards.
    Within this guide, buyers and retailers of ceramic dinnerware are provided with the domestic market guidelines for the legislation and performance tests commonly used to determine the “fitness for purpose” of ceramic items sold in the UK.

  • Ten Top Tips for Refractory Installation - Get it Right First Time!

    At Lucideon, we are often asked for our top tips for the installation of a refractory lining. So, Jan Theron, one of our Refractories Consultants, has put together this guide which we hope will go some way to helping you out. The points to consider are outlined – those things which, if not done correctly could, potentially, cause you the biggest problems.

  • Ensuring Reliable Performance from Ceramic Components in Medical Applications

    ISO 13356 "Implants for surgery – Ceramic materials based on yttria-stabilised tetragonal zirconia (Y-TZP)" is a standard created to ensure consistent performance of Yttria- Stabilised Zirconia (YSZ) ceramics in implants for surgery. The pass limits set can already meet or be exceeded using existing, mainstream processing routes. However, with the average age of humans increasing (resulting in over-65s making up a higher percentage of the population), there is a challenge to increase the lifetime of zirconia implants towards 30 years or more. This white paper highlights some of the testing involved in ISO 13356 and discusses how recent and on-going research into ceramic processing provides opportunities to meet the challenge.

  • The Growth of Ceramics in Aerospace and Defence

    Over the last 20 years the demands of the Aerospace and Defence sectors on materials have consistently focussed on low density (leading to lightweight components), high specific strength and/or stiffness (maximising the performance of the lightweight materials), and high hardness (for wear resistance and ballistic protection). Reducing the weight of aerospace components has obvious benefits in terms of increasing the effectiveness of the fuel burned, either in increasing the range or allowing greater payload to be carried for the same amount of fuel. In defence applications, a weight reduction of personal protection (armour/helmet etc) reduces the load on the individual soldier, allowing him to carry more munitions making him more effective, and increasing his agility and manoverability. Similarly, military vehicles benefit from reduced weight, making them more easily transported (airlifted) into the theatre of operations. However, these weight reductions must not be achieved at the expense of performance - hence the sector’s drive for new, lightweight, high performance materials.