The PhD is a collaboration between the Coatings and Surface Technologies (CAST) research group of the unit Sustainable Materials Management at VITO and the Materials Engineering Department at KU Leuven. The researcher will be mainly active in the Coatings and Surface Technologies (CAST) research group of the unit Sustainable Materials Management (https://vito.be/en/theme/sustainable-materials) at VITO in Mol .
- 3D printing or additive manufacturing produces near-net-shape parts with complex geometries, which would not be achievable by subtractive manufacturing, through adding materials layer by layer. A large freedom of design, mass customization, waste minimization, as well as fast prototyping are the main benefits of the technology. However, different materials related challenges limit the widespread adoption of 3D printing in industry. One main challenge is related to the limited variety of materials applicable for 3D printing, with polymers still representing the largest share. Furthermore, materials research is needed to enhance and control the quality of the 3D printed parts.
- The aim of this PhD is to address the abovementioned challenges by developing feedstock materials and complete processing routes for dense metal and ceramic3D printing by micro-extrusion. This will require a good understanding of the relationship between printing material formulation (powder, binder, solvent, additives), printing and post-processing conditions, microstructure and materials performance. The PhD will focus on the processing of dense technical ceramics (e.g. silicon carbide) and advanced metal alloys (e.g. Cu alloys) that could be applied in the chemical industry, machinery, electronics and transport sector.
Master in Science or Engineering, with a strong background in (inorganic) chemistry or materials engineering. Knowledge on powder metallurgy and materials characterization are an advantage.