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Materials and Technologies for
Constructions and Cultural Heritage
Polymers Ceramics and ceramic matrix composites Biomaterials Polymer matrix composites

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Innovative techniques for the reconstruction of ceramic, wood and other materials artworks.

Involved People:
Alfonso Maffezzoli
Mariaenrica Frigione
Antonio Licciulli
Francesca Lionetto
Francesco Montagna

Innovative techniques, such as stereolitography, have been proposed for the reconstruction of artworks made in different materials (ceramic, wood, stone, etc). The need of fast production of prototypes of complex shape in very short time lead to the development from the mid 80's of many additive rapid prototyping (RP) technologies for the production of single objects or of very limited series. The new fabrication concept allowed the construction of complex parts, starting from a 3D-CAD model, without using a mould. In RP, the object building is obtained bonding, layer by layer, its sections by an additive process rather than cutting or «sculpturing» the parts from a homogeneous block. The key point of RP is given by the direct link between the CAD model and the solid object, generated in few hours suggesting that tailor made or single functional parts could be fabricated for example for prosthetic applications in very a short time. Among others stereolithography is by far the most diffused RP techniques. The objects are obtained polymerizing a low viscosity liquid resin section by section. The shape and the dimensions of the parts are directly transferred from a three dimensional CAD system to the stereolithography equipment where a UV laser beam polymerizes the different sections. A computer controlled laser draws the bottom cross section onto the surface of a liquid polymer. The polymer hardens where it is struck by the laser. The part is then lowered to a depth corresponding to the section's thickness. The next cross section is drawn directly on top of the previous one. This is repeated until the part is finished. Finally, the part is removed from the vat and completely cured in a special UV post cure apparatus. Besides, design, mould fabrication and commercial needs, functional applications of prototypes needs the development of custom made materials for each application. Our group is actually involved in the development of new materials for stereolithography. The research is performed combining offline photocalorimetric measurements and part building on an SLA 250 equipment, modified to be fitted with a small vat containing 500 ml of experimental resin. Stereolithography has been used to build a green containing not less than 50% v/v of ceramic powders. The properties obtained are often adequate for realizing replicas of high-value artworks. If needed, the green is then subjected to burn-out and sintering. The most recent advance indicated that silica based suspension are much easily fabricated.
Figs 9 ad 10: Reconstruction of the missing amphora handles and neck realized in resin (left) and in clay (right) with the stereolitography technique.

From: M. Fersini, M. Frigione, S. Matteo: “Dall’High-Tech alla Ceramica Tradizionale – Un esempio tutto Salentino di ricostruzione di lacune ceramiche con l’ausilio della tecnica stereolitografica laser”, Quaderno 12, Museo della Ceramica di Cutrofiano, Congedo Editore, Galatina (LE), pp. 31-46 (2009).


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University of Salento   Facoltà di Ingengeria    Department of Engineering for Innovation