Aug 9, 2013

3D Printing in Ceramics

New AHRC film looks at how creative innovation can translate to new products.
Arts and humanities research generates innovative ideas with real-world applications and commercial potential. One example of research that is realising this potential and contributing to economic growth is an AHRC-funded Knowledge Exchange project at the University of the West of England.
In this film we see how researchers at the Center for Fine Print Research, Led by Professor Stephen Hoskins and his team, have developed new methods of creating ceramics using 3D printing technology and worked with Denby Potteries to test designs and develop prototype models in ceramics. 
Through this method, ceramics are built up layer by layer using a specially-created -- and now patented - ceramic powder. They are then fired and glazed in the usual way. 'Printing' ceramics in this way means that highly intricate and complex ceramics can be created that would have been impossible to achieve traditional methods. This has opened up commercial potential through quicker manufacturing processes and new design options. Gary Hawley, Senior Designer at Denby, praised the partnership between his company and researchers, saying that the new process is "pushing the boundaries of what is possible".
The film concludes with Professor Hoskins' inspirational view of what the future for 3D print technology might look like. This includes the announcement of an exciting new AHRC-funded project which will see the Professor Hoskins and his team to undertaking a major investigation into a self-glazing 3D printed ceramic, inspired by ancient Egyptian Faience ceramic techniques.The process they aim to develop would enable ceramic artists, designers and craftspeople to print 3D objects in a ceramic material which can be glazed and vitrified in one firing.

The team hopes to bring ancient tradition into the 21st century, joining together old and new hand-in-hand in a project that continues to push boundaries in this area of ceramic research.