Flexural strength of 3Y-TZP bioceramics obtained by direct write assembly as function of residual connected-porosity


Objectives: The present work reports the effect of the extrusion nozzles' size and consequent residual porosity on the flexural strength of 3Y-TZP bioceramics fabricated by direct write assembly technology. Methods: A printable ink containing a volume fraction of 45% of 3Y-TZP (ZrO2 stabilized with 3 mol% Y2O3) submicron powder, carboxymethyl cellulose and polyethyleneimine as additives was fine-tuned by rheological measurements. Different nozzle diameters (0.41 mm, 0.33 mm, and 0.25 mm) were used to print 3D specimens with proper dimensions for structural and mechanical characterization after sintering, namely relative density, linear shrinkage, and three-point flexural strength. Bulk surface sample and exposed fractured surfaces after flexural strength tests were analyzed by X-ray diffraction, Rietveld refinement and scanning electronic microscopy. Strength reliability and failure probability of the three sample groups were analyzed by Weibull statistics. Results: The sintered samples exhibited relative densities in the range of 78% (nozzle o 0.41 = mm) and 82% (nozzle o 0.25 = mm), i.e., a slight increase in the residual interfilamentous porosity is observed, as the extrusion tip diameter increases, while linear shrinkage is statistically similar (approximate to 25%). Likewise, a progressive reduction of flexural strength and Weibull modulus as nozzle diameter increases was noticeable, being respectively sigma f = 337,5 +/- 49 MPa and m = 6.6 for the smallest nozzle diameter (o = 0.25 mm) and sigma f = 261.4 +/- 79 MPa and m = 3.2 for the biggest one (o = 0.41 mm). Unlike nozzle diameter, the material is constituted by 79-81 wt% tetragonal t-ZrO2 and 19-21 wt% cubic c-ZrO2 with equiaxed grain sizes between 0.3 and 0.6 mu m. Conclusion: X-ray diffraction analyses on the fracture surface of flexural test samples suggests that the toughening mechanism by tetragonal -> monoclinic phase transformation is the main responsible for the mechanical strength of this structural ceramic. Additionally, the reduction of flexural strength for samples printed with extrusion nozzle of 0.41 mm could be explained by the surface roughness of the bending surfaces, as well as the lower effective resistance to crack-propagation arising from the higher size of residual pores on the fracture surface.



subject category

Engineering; Materials Science


Baltazar, J; Alves, MFRP; Martins, MA; Torres, PMC; Santos, C; Olhero, S

our authors


This work was supported by the project TAMAZ3D-Development of a Decision Support Tool for Additive Manufacturing of Alumina-Zirconia 3-D structures with references POCI-01-0145-FEDER-030493 and PTDC/EME-EME/30493/2017. The support by the projects of CICECO (UIDB/50011/2020 & UIDP/50011/2020) and TEMA (UID/EMS/00481/2020) financed by national funds through the FCT/MEC and when appropriate co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) under the PT2020 Partnership Agreement, was also acknowledged. P. M. C. Torres and S. M. Olhero acknowledge Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) for CEECIND/01891/2017 and CEECIND/03393/2017 contracts, respectively. C. Santos is thankful for financial support received from Brazilian agencies, FAPERJ (Grants E-26-201.476/2014 and E26-202.997/2017) and CNPq (Grant 311.119/2017-4) .

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