Advanced Ceramic Components with Embedded Sapphire Optical Fiber Sensors for High Temperature Applications


This paper describes an extrusion-based additive manufacturing process that has been developed to enable embedment of sapphire optical fiber sensors in ceramic components during the part fabrication. In this process, an aqueous paste of ceramic particles is extruded through a moving nozzle to build the part layer-by-layer. In the case of sensor embedment, the fabrication process is halted after a certain number of layers have been deposited; the sensors are placed in their predetermined locations, and the remaining layers are deposited until the part fabrication is completed. Because the sensors are embedded during the fabrication process, they are fully integrated with the part and the problems of traditional sensor embedment can be eliminated. Scanning electron microscopy was used to observe the embedded sensors and to detect any possible flaws in the part or embedded sensor. Attenuation of the sensors was measured in near-infrared region (1500-1600 nm wavelength). Standard test methods were employed to examine the effect of embedded fibers on the strength and hardness of the parts. The results indicated that the sapphire fiber sensors with diameters smaller than 250 micrometers were able to endure the freeform extrusion fabrication process and the post-processing without compromising the part properties.


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Second Department

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Research Center/Lab(s)

Intelligent Systems Center


National Energy Technology Laboratory (U.S.)
Missouri University of Science and Technology. Intelligent Systems Center


The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support by the National Energy Technology Laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Fossil Energy under the contract DE-FE0012272, and the Intelligent Systems Center at the Missouri University of Science and Technology.

Keywords and Phrases

3D printers; Alumina; Ceramic materials; Chemical sensors; Extrusion; Fabrication; Fiber optic sensors; Fibers; High temperature applications; Infrared devices; Intelligent materials; Intelligent structures; Manufacture; Optical fibers; Sapphire; Scanning electron microscopy; Additive manufacturing process; Ceramic component; Fabrication process; Freeforming; Near infrared region; On demands; Sapphire fiber sensors; Standard test method; Optical fiber fabrication; Assembly; Fiber Optics; Manufacture; Sensors; Additive manufacturing; Ceramic on demand extrusion; Extrusion freeforming; Smart material; Smart structure

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





© 2016 Elsevier, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Dec 2016