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Keywords:

  • thermoplastics;
  • thermogravimetric analysis;
  • manufacturing;
  • properties and characterization;
  • differential scanning calorimetry

Abstract

A promising method for the manufacture of complex 3D ceramic parts is selective laser sintering (SLS). SLS of alumina components can be done either directly or indirectly. In this article, the indirect method is used by using polystyrene coated alumina particles. One of the methods to produce these alumina powders is dispersion polymerization. In this research, it is described how the alumina powder has been developed and tested. The powder has been characterized to define its processability within the SLS process. Used techniques include SEM (morphology), STA/TGA (overall mass loss), DSC (glass transition temperature Tg), and laser diffraction (particle size distribution). The investigated SLS process parameters were the preheating temperature, laser power, scan spacing, and scan speed. STA/TGA has proven that polystyrene-coated alumina powders are suitable for SLS process, while DSC results were judged to be a good source of complementary data on preheating temperature of alumina/polystyrene powders. SLS experiments showed that single layer green parts can be produced. By using the optimized SLS parameters, it was demonstrated that different 3D geometries can be produced with the polystyrene coated alumina powders. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci., 2013