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Ceramic and metallic injection/extrusion molding (CIM, MIM)
The development of new binder systems for application in injection molding and extrusion of powders (ceramics and metals) is the group’s priority line of research and its hallmark.
It started with different types of metallic materials, such as austenitic, ferritic and duplex stainless steels, tool steels and brasses. Subsequently, we apply it to structural ceramics such as alumina and zirconia, and then to functional ceramics such as magnetic ferrites (Ni-Zn, Mn-Zn,…), yttrium-stabilized zirconia (YSZ), Ni-YSZ cermets,…
In recent years we have applied this technology to materials for lithium ion batteries such as Li4Ti5O12 (LTO), LiFePO4, NMC o LiCoO2 (LCO).
Additive Manufacturing of metals and ceramics. 3D printing (Fused Filament Fabrication)
The experience in powder extrusion molding has allowed us to successfully tackle the 3-D printing of ceramics and metals using the fused filament technique.
We are successfully developing different formulations of binder systems that are later mixed with powders to manufacture high-quality filaments for printing ceramic and metal parts using conventional thermoplastic printers.
Polymer blends. Rheological, thermal and mechanical behavior.
We have technical capacity for the preparation of polymer mixtures and their thermal, rheological and mechanical characterization. We have been able to apply it to the manufacture of polymer blends for use as phase change materials.
Synthesis and structural characterization of ceramic materials.
The synthesis and structural characterization of inorganic solids has been the hallmark of some of the members of the group for more than two decades. Although the main synthesis methods used have been the solid state reaction, other techniques such as mechanical grinding or sol-gel methods have also been used to prepare nanoparticulate materials. Likewise, it has extensive experience in the structural characterization by means of X-ray diffraction and neutron diffraction of inorganic solids.
The group has extensive experience in the preparation and characterization of solid electrolytes (inorganic and polymeric) for applications in lithium and sodium batteries. Injection/extrusion molding and tape casting techniques have recently been used for the preparation of thick ceramic electrodes. In this way, complete batteries have been prepared with thick electrodes that are characterized by having a high capacity per unit volume and per unit area, which represents a significant reduction in the cost of the battery, by reducing the non-active elements of the battery (mainly current collectors). As well as allowing, in the case of using a solid electrolyte, to increase the operating temperature window.
The group has worked on the development and processing of materials for fuel cells, both solid oxide (SOFC) and polymeric. In the case of SOFCs, the main contribution has been the application of extrusion molding techniques for the manufacture of Ni-YSZ microtubes in microtubular fuel cells.
In the case of polymeric membranes, the main contribution is the development of new alternative protonic and anionic membranes to nafion. In particular, new polymeric membranes based on functionalized polysulfone have been prepared, as well as membranes based on block copolymers. Composite membranes have also been developed, where the polymer has been loaded with inorganic fillers of different nature.
Magnetic ceramics: Ferrites
In the field of ferrites, the main contribution has been the application of powder injection molding to soft magnetic ceramics (mainly Ni-Zn and Mn-Zn ferrites). These developments have been carried out in collaboration with the company ferroxcube and with the company PREMO.