Laser powder bed fusion of soda lime silica glass: Optimisation of processing parameters and evaluation of part properties
Datsiou, Kyriaki Corinna
Glass has a number of attractive properties, such as transparency, chemical resistance, good thermal stability and high electrical resistivity, that make it a favourable material for a range of applications, including medical technology, electronics, chemical and pharmaceutical industries. However, compared to metals and polymers, the additive manufacturing of glass is still at a primitive stage. The inherent material properties of glass, i.e. its amorphous structure, lack of ductility and high processing temperatures, make processing of glass by additive manufacturing challenging. This paper describes the laser powder bed fusion of a soda lime silica glass. Optimisation of the laser powder bed fusion process was undertaken and the physical and mechanical properties of the manufactured parts were characterised revealing an average porosity of 12%, a mean flexural strength of 6.5 MPa and a fully amorphous structure. Feasibility examples were successfully demonstrated, indicating that geometrically complex shapes are possible. Even though the manufactured parts are opaque, they could potentially find use in applications where the need for chemical inertness and geometrical complexity surpass the need for transparency as in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries e.g. in the form of continuous flow reactors or structured catalysts.