Technological platform: Ceramic processing

THE CTTC TECHNOLOGICAL PLATFORM OF 1,000 m2 HOSTS ALL THE MEANS FOR TECHNICAL CERAMICS PRODUCTION.

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From powder to object

The ceramic process includes a set of optimised and mastered steps to achieve technical ceramics that meet the desired function.

The facilities of the Technology Platform cover all steps of the process: from the synthesis of the material, preparation of powders, their shaping, heat treatment to the final finishing step.

From the laboratory scale to the semi-industrial scale, the platform's equipment meets the needs of R&D development, up to pre-series manufacturing.

Objectives of the platform

  • Develop new products using technical ceramics

  • Develop an industrial manufacturing process

  • Perform tests on pilot-scale equipment

  • Enable companies to evaluate ceramic technologies before investment

  • Make available the main state-of-the-art technologies for manufacturing technical ceramics

 

 

Synthesis and formulation

Our synthesis and formulation laboratory enables the development of high performance materials suitable for every industrial use. The processes are implemented from powders or precursors in order to achieve the expected characteristics: granule size, purity, morphology, functional surfaces, etc.

  • Kilns for solid state synthesis (1200 °C, Vol. 180 L)
  • Kilns for solid state synthesis (1300 °C, 13-40 L)
  • Inert atmosphere kiln (2000 °C, Vol. 200 L)
  • Soft chemical synthesis reactor (15 L vessel, controlled pH and Temp.)
  • Centrifuges (Vol. 0.5-18 L, 3500 rpm)
  • Climatic conditions chamber (T. max. 95 °C, Hyg. Max. 98 %)
  • Glove boxes (dry air or inert gas)
  • Thinky mixer (2000 rpm)
  • Turbula mixer (67 rpm)

Some examples: Controlled size silica spheres, Rare earth nanopowders, Accurate solid solution composition materials, Catalysts, Calcium phophate powders (HA/TCP), Functionalization, etc.

Formulation and Synthesis Laboratory

 

 

Preparation of powders, pastes and suspensions

The raw materials can be prepared as powders, granular, pastes or suspensions. The CTTC has the material resources and expertise necessary for this important step of the ceramic process. The facilities are adapted to scale transfer (from a few grams to several dozen kilograms). Some of these processes can also be used for metal powders.

  • Continuous attrition mill (12 L-100 L, final granulometry <1μm)
  • Lab attrition mill (0.5 L final granulometry <1μm)
  • Planetary mill (250 to 500 ml, final granulometry <2 μm)
  • Rotary mills (1L -13 L, final granulometry <5 μm)
  • Ball mills (30 L, final granulometry <5 μm)
  • Mortar grinder (3 L, final granulometry <1 mm)
  • Blade mixer (60 L)
  • Turbula mixer (2 L)
  • Z blade mixer extruder for plastic paste (6 L)
  • Three roll mill for plastic paste (>0.5 L)
  • Sieves and sieve shaker for powders and slurries (25 μm from to 3.15 mm)
  • Powder classifier (5 μm from to 100 μm)
  • Pilot-scale spray dryer (co-current geometry with pneumatic spray nozzle, evaporation capability: 17 kg/h, final granulometry 50-200 μm)
  • Lab atomizer (co-current system with pneumatic spray nozzle, useful for organic solvant, capacity: 1 kg/day, final granulometry 30-40 μm)
  • Automatic pelletizing mixer (capacity: 1 kg/day, Final granulometry: 200 μm-2 mm)
  • Pelletizing drum (capacity: 2 kg/day, Final granulometry: 200 μm-2 mm)
  • Freeze granulator (also used with freeze dryer, capacity: 0.5 kg/day, Final granulométrie: 50-500 μm)

Some examples: Preparation of dispersed and stable slurries for casting processes, Ready-to-press atomized alumina powders, Preparation of extrusion or injection feedstocks, etc.

Powder and feedstock processing technologies

 

 

Shaping

The shaping of ceramics is achieved with means suitable for producing plates, bars, tubes, blind tubes, honeycombs and complex shapes. The parts can be made to final dimensions or the near-net-shape for the lowest dimensional tolerances.

  • Uniaxial Press (23 T)
  • Cold Isostatic Press (2000 bars – 80 L)
  • Piston extruder
  • Screw extruder
  • Low pressure injection molding (3 L - 5 bars)
  • Low pressure injection molding (40 L - 5 bars)
  • Tape casting (L 800 x l 500 mm)
  • Electrophoretic deposition apparatus
  • Coating apparatus
  • Screen printing
  • Multilayer assembly by hot-pressing

Some examples: Process development for ultra high temperature, Refractory ceramic fabrication (nuclear industry), Porous material manufacturing (for filtration of gas or liquid) with planar or tubular geometry, Conception and set up of a production line for ceramic, Catalyst media, Pre-series production of biomedical parts, etc.

Ceramic forming processes

 

 

Heat treatment

The platform offers various means of heat treatment of ceramics for drying, debinding, firing and sintering. Variable capacity equipment is used to handle both small samples and large parts.

  • Debinding kilns (T. max. 1200 °C, static air, Vol. 180 L)
  • Kilns (T. max. 1300 °C, static air, Vol. 13-40 L)
  • Supercritical Fluid Extractor (P. max. 240 bars, T. max. 80°C, process fluid: CO2)
  • Calcination kiln for biomedical applications (T. max. 1300 °C, static air, Vol. 7,5 L)
  • Debinding / Sintering kiln (T. max. 1750 °C, static or forced air, Vol. 64 L)
  • Vertical tubular kiln (T. max. 1450 °C, controlled atmosphere, D15 cm H150 cm)
  • Large kiln (T. max. 1350 °C, static air, Vol. 770 L)
  • Superkanthal sintering kiln (T. max. 1800 °C, static air, Vol. 10 L)
  • Superkanthal sintering kiln (T. max. 1750 °C, static air, Vol. 32 L)
  • Liftable floor furnace (T. max. 1600 °C, static air, Vol. 120 L)
  • Chamber furnace (T. max. 1400 °C, static air, Vol. 700 L)
  • Non-oxyde sintering kiln (T. max. 2000°C, static air, inert atmosphere, Vol. 200 L, usable under vacuum up to 1500 °C)
  • Spark Plasma Sintering platform (T. max. 2400 °C, inert atmosphere or vacuum, I. max. 8000 A, P.max. 25 tons, Die maximum diameter 100 mm)
  • Hot Pressing (T. max. 1800 °C, inert atmosphere, P. max. 10 tons, Die maximum diameter 50 mm)
  • Nitridation furnace (T. max. 1500 °C, nitrogen, Vol. 150 L)

Some examples: Ceramic sintering (oxides, carbides, nitrides), HT reaction synthesis, Reaction bounded silicon nitride production, Spark plasma sintering of nanopowders, etc.

Sintering technologies

 

 

Finishing

The finishing step may be machining or rectification of the part for shaping to the final dimensions. It can also be a bonding or assembly step. The tools of the platform and the CTTC partners provide answers to all issues submitted.