Industrial Diamonds – Either Mined or Lab-grown that are non-gem quality, have had a wide range of industrial, commercial and scientific usage since decades. However, these industrial diamonds were available only in geometric shapes limiting their applications. Scientists at Sandvik have now created the world’s first Industrial Diamond Composite that is 3D Printed and is flexible to be printed in various complex shapes.
While Industrial Diamond Composites are not diamond in truest sense, it still retains lot of physical properties of diamonds. Though most of the composite material is diamond, it is cemented in a very hard matrix polymer material to make it flexible.
The process involves a slurry of diamond powder and polymer using stereolithography (SLA) where complex parts are produced layer by layer using Ultraviolet (UV) rays. This is then followed by a proprietary post-processing method to derive the exact properties of a dense diamond composite, which has high hardness, exceptional heat conductivity while having low density, good thermal expansion and high corrosion resistance.
Anders Ohlsson, Delivery Manager at Sandvik Additive Manufacturing said “Historically, 3D printing in diamond was something that none of us imagined was achievable. Even now we are just starting to grasp the possibilities and applications that this breakthrough could have”.
This material can have applications in advanced manufacturing sectors such as aerospace and automotive, and was recently unveiled by Sweden-based material science leader Sandvik at RAPID + TCT 3D Printing Show at Detroit.
Susanne Norgren, Adjunct Professor in Applied Materials Science at Uppsala University said “Sandvik’s 3D printed diamond composite is a true innovation. It means that we can begin to use diamond in applications and shapes never conceived possible before,”.
Additive manufacturing is a revolutionary process where the global trend in material science is to restructure existing materials to achieve the properties sought rather than look for or develop new materials.
While this has no bearing on the gem and jewelry sector, industrial diamonds composites that can be 3D printed in complex shapes have a potential to impact the typical industrial diamonds used till now.