Optimized Zirconia 3D Printing Using Digital Light Processing with Continuous Film Supply and Recyclable Slurry System

Materials (Basel). 2021 Jun 22;14(13):3446. doi: 10.3390/ma14133446.


Stereolithography (SL) can fabricate complex ceramic parts layer by layer using computer-aided design (CAD) models. The traditional SL system utilizes a vat filled with ceramic slurry with a high solid content, which for ceramics contributes to several limitations and operational difficulties, and further renders it nonrecyclable mainly due to the presence of printed residue and its high viscosity. In this study, we utilized a continuous film supply (CFS) system integrated with a tape-casting type digital light processing (DLP) printer to fabricate zirconia prototypes with a solid content of 45 volume percent (vol.%). Various printing and postprocessing parameters were studied for optimization, to achieve a relative density of 99.02% ± 0.08% with a microhardness of 12.59 ± 0.47 GPa. Slurry reusability was also demonstrated by printing with recycled slurry to produce consistent relative density values in the range of 98.86% ± 0.02% to 98.94% ± 0.03%. This method provides new opportunities for material recycling and the fabrication of dense complex ceramic products, reducing the consumption of the material.

Keywords: continuous film supply; digital light processing; recyclable slurry; zirconia.