Fabrication of advanced ceramics and selective metallization of non-conductive substrates by inkjet printing
Inkjet printing of ceramic components and gold conductive tracks was carried out in this study. A commercial inkjet printer, designed for printing one layer of 2D images on paper, was modified to give adequate resolution, to reverse the substrate for overprinting many layers and to accommodate the increase in thickness of 3D components during printing. Ceramic inks were prepared by wet ball milling and printed to form 3D structures. The powders used were alumina, zirconia, lead zirconate titanate (PZT) and barium titanate. The substrate used for printing the ceramic parts was an overhead transparency. Methods to stop or reduce ink flow were devised and used during printing of the ceramic parts. The alumina and zirconia powders were used for the fabrication of multi-layered laminates. The lead zirconate titanate was used to fabricate components with pillars, walls, vertical channels and x-y-z channel network. During printing of the x-y-z channel network, carbon was used as a support structure and then removed during firing. Barium titanate and carbon powders were used to form the first storey of a capacitor with a multi-storey car park structure. The printed parts were pyrolysed and fired in an oxidising environment and then characterised with scanning electron microscopy. The causes of micro structural defects found were discussed and prevention methods suggested. Organic gold powder was dissolved in methanol and then printed on three different substrates to form conductive gold tracks. The substrates used included alumina, glazed tile and microscope glass slides. The printed tracks were fired in air. The decomposition characteristics of the organic gold compound were studied with TGA and Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC). Scanning electron microscope was used to examine the fired gold film for defects and conductivity measurement of the tracks was carried out with a programmable multimeter.