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Product Code: PIC2008_105

Laser Machining in Ceramics Manufacture (Invited Paper)
Authors:
Duncan Hand, Heriot-Watt University; Edinburgh Great Britain
Fraser Dear, Heriot-Watt University; Edinburgh Great Britain
Jonathan Parry, Heriot-Watt University; Edinburgh Great Britain
Jonathan Shephard, Heriot-Watt University; Edinburgh Great Britain
Krzysztof Nowak, Heriot-Watt University; Edinburgh Great Britain
Denis Hall, Heriot-Watt University; Edinburgh Great Britain
Howard Baker, Heriot-Watt University; Edinburgh Great Britain
Presented at PICALO 2008

Ceramic materials are increasingly used across a range of industrial and medical applications, exploiting their mechanical, thermal and electrical properties. Typically ceramics can withstand high temperatures, have high stiffness and are electrically (and in some cases) thermally insulating. Ceramic components are typically formed by extrusion or moulding processes and it is possible to create parts with high precision. Such processes, however, are inflexible and so are not suited to the production of small volumes or where some degree of customisation is required. Post-process mechanical machining is very difficult due to the high hardness and brittleness of the material; indeed in some cases (e.g. yttria-stabilised zirconia) the only mechanical machining process that is feasible is diamond grinding. Lasers can therefore provide a solution to many ceramic manufacturing problems (provided that thermally-induced cracking problems can be avoided), and indeed there are established industrial ceramic manufacturing processes which use lasers (e.g. laser scribing of alumina ceramic circuit boards). In this presentation I will review laser processing of ceramics and applications, with a particular focus in two areas: (i) manufacture of multi-layer ceramic high temperature substrates for electronics and opto-electronics and (ii) laser machining of yttria-stabilised zirconia for medical applications, in particular dental restorations.

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