Research into the additive manufacturing (AM) of ceramics has traditionally focused on achieving the design flexibility advantages from geometric control that proved successful in metal and polymer AM. Generally, ceramic AM techniques have relied on multistep processes where a ceramic powder and polymer binder are printed into a green ceramic part, which is subsequently debound and sintered. Future research and development of new ceramic AM techniques should aim to surpass the capabilities of existing systems by unlocking the potential for controlling factors beyond shape. Additive techniques deposit material on demand to create parts, making them inherently open to the possibility of tailoring the material on length scales comparable to the printer’s resolution during the build process. By controlling factors such as material composition or localized stress, thermal, or electromagnetic fields during the build process, AM could create functionalized ceramics with tailored, spatially varied composition or microstructure. Two potential routes for exploring advanced manufacturing of functionalized ceramics were identified and pursued. For the main research effort, direct ink writing was utilized to produce functionally graded B4C-SiC multimaterial ceramics. In a complementary research effort, ceramics with microstructural texture were printed using shear alignment on a stereolithography-based Admaflex 130 system. The eventual combination of these research efforts would enable multiscale, microstructure tailoring through composition grading with platelet or fiber-seeded inks.
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