Z3Dlab Introduces New Additive Manufacturing Titanium Ceramic Material for Selective Lazer Melting

Continuing the global success of the “French Tech”, the start-up Z3DLAB created in January 2014, a specialist in metal additive manufacturing, is pinning its strategy in the development of new materials.

The company has validated a patent for the development of a new composite Titanium / Zirconia: ZTi-Powder®.
It combines the Zirconia’s hardness with Titanium’s malleability. It is 100% inert and 50% stronger than Titanium and withstands over 1000°C and at the same time is extremely light.

ZTi-Powder® combined with the SLM technology will create a huge range of unexplored opportunities

Technical context

Titanium and Zirconia are widely used for high performance parts, in areas like medical and aerospace industries etc. It should be noted that these two materials are biocompatible. They resist body fluids and also have an elasticity close to that of bone.
Titanium and Zirconium have very similar coefficients of expansion (10.5 and 8.5 10-6 / K) to zirconia and titanium respectively. Their complementarity mechanical properties provides a dual response to Titanium’s attrition and the toughness of Ceramic…

This is the first time a Titanium fusion with Ceramic has been formed in an additive manufacturing process.

The specific qualities of each material

Titanium :high toughness but low abrasion resistance.
Zirconium: Ceramic highly resistant to wear and abrasion, with a low tenacity.

There are many industrial opportunities for this material

ZTi-Powder® – patent 15/01303 – is applicable for use in various fields such as Medical and Dental – implants, prostheses, plates, staples, screws … Aeronautics, Luxury Industry, Automotive …. as well as exploring new frontiers in the science of Energy…

Until this Titanium-Ceramic composite emerged, it was considered that the duplex alloy: the Ti6Al4V composed of alpha and beta phases, consisting of 6% aluminum and 4% vanadium (Ti-64) was a suitable material because it possessed enhanced mechanical properties compared to pure Titanium.

It was discovered that the Titanium alloy has a low hardness value and poor wear resistance and a poor resistance to oxidation in valves and pin connections. When it is in an oxygen depleted environment such as dental or bone implants, it is then capable of releasing Aluminum and Vanadium ions in body fluids, which is a potential source of
allergiesi.

To overcome the problems of diffusion of Aluminum and Vanadium ions, the current process works on changing the nature of the Titanium surface of this alloy using different surface engineering techniques such as depositing a layer of Zirconium.

Surface deposit techniques (PVDii) have proven to be costly and complex, with mixed results.

Source: Z3DLab Press Filing