Posted On: 2016-02-22 05:29:22 ; Read: 489 time(s)

ZTi-Powder: 3D Printing Material Combining Titanium with Zirconia

Plenty of applications for the flawless new titanium-ceramic 3D printing material developed by Z3DLab

 

These days everything in the world of 3D printing circulates around metal additive manufacturing - new techniques, new materials, new applications.

Of course, the most common metal 3D printing today is that involving the use of selective laser melting and special metallic powder materials. And this technique is not that popular because there are no others, but because so far there is no better, faster or cheaper way to create metallic 3D prints of quality that at least matches that of traditionally manufactured products.

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Now, a French 3D printing company called Z3DLab, a company with some experience in SLM 3D printing and the development of new 3D printing materials, has announced the release of the first ever metal composite material that combines the strength of ceramic zirconia with the malleability of titanium. Both materials have a common and very important feature - they are biocompatible and have endless applications in the medical and dental industries as well as in complex fields such as automotive and aerospace industries.

The French creators of the material have given it the name “ZTi-Powder” after patenting it in 2015 and they are advertising it as the hardest material for SLM in the world. Of course, such a material, composed of titanium and ceramic zirconia can have thousands of applications but the Z3DLab company is obviously focusing on the medical and dental industries as they have just recently demonstrated ZTi-Powder at the 3D Medical Expo in Maastricht.

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3D Tectonix blog is dedicated to 3D printing in general but we usually focus on the methods and techniques of additive manufacturing. Of course, materials or filaments are just as essential as 3D printers are and without the perfect material no 3D printer can produce an implant that’s harmless and biocompatible. That depends on the material. Titanium, one of the two ingredients of ZTi-Powder is one of the most popular materials used for dental or bone implants, especially when the manufacturing process is 3D printing. This material is not just compatible with our bodies. It’s also tough and resistant to the fluids in our bodies. It’s nearly as elastic as our bones. However, it’s usually avoided compared to other materials because of the potential allergic reactions and its vulnerability to abrasion.

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Still, something had to be done to make titanium usable and harmless. Considering these factors, Z3DLab started experimenting with zirconia, a ceramic material also widely used for medical implants and 3D printing for the outer space. It has some similarities with titanium but it’s twice as hard and resistant to abrasion and wear. It’s single disadvantage was the fact that it’s not so malleable and here is where titanium rules. Obviously there had to be a combination between these two super materials and Z3DLab made it possible - ZTi-Powder incorporates Titanium and Zirconia in one single material that has preserved the qualities and eliminated the faults of each of them.

ZTi-Powder: 3D Printing Material Combining Titanium with Zirconia