Processing Overview. ACM's materials are processed from high grade ceramic powdcrs that may be custom formulated to meet application and customer requirements. These powders may be shaped or consolidated using several different processes.
Non-Aqueous Gel Casting (NAGC) Ceramic powders are suspended in a non-aqueous slurry with a good working viscosity. In general solids loadings readily achieve 50%-60% by volume. The non-aqueous slurry is cast and thermally gelled in a permanent or sacrificial mold.
Based on the quantity and complexity of the desired final components, molds can be economically fabricated from inexpensive materials, such as aluminum or wax. Green parts are processed through a thermal debinding step and a final high temperature sintering cycle to achieve consolidation.
Successful parts have been realized in sizes ranging from 0.100" to 22". ACM provides a range of ceramic materials already tailored to the gel-cast process; however, adevelopment partner may provide a proprietary raw material which can be engineered into the gel-casting process. (Example powder systems: Zirconia, Silicon Nitride, Alumina, Alumina TiCN, SIALON, Aluminum Nitride, Boron Carbide, Silicon Carbide)
Hot Pressing: Because ceramic properties (and ultimately their performance) are highly dependent on the presence, size, and quantity of defects, it is often necessary to use advanced processing methods. Conventional firing operations "pressure-less sinter" ceramic powders to achieve dense bodies. The application of external pressure to powder bodies can enhance the consolidation process. This pressure enhanced consolidation is used