This paper presents a study of selective laser sintering of silica-gel. The objective of this work is to investigate a technique to create free-form, low to zero coefficient of thermal expansion structures. This offers potential cost savings over the conventional casting of large pieces of glass-ceramic followed by machining lightening features. In this paper, A CO2 laser is coupled through a gantry system and focused onto a binder-free silica-gel powder bed (15-40 μm particles). Prior to writing each layer, powder is dispensed by sifting it onto the build platform as opposed to a conventional wiper system. This avoids contacting and potentially damaging sensitive parts. After deposition, the parts are annealed in a furnace to increase their strength. The influence of various process parameters including scan speed and laser power on final shape is investigated. In addition, the flexural strength of annealed parts is measured via three-point bending tests.

Meeting Name

27th Annual International Solid Freeform Fabrication Symposium -- An Additive Manufacturing Conference (2016: Aug. 8-10, Austin, TX)


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Research Center/Lab(s)

Intelligent Systems Center

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version

Final Version

File Type




Publication Date

10 Aug 2016

Included in

Manufacturing Commons