The European Ceramic Society

YCN representative - Switzerland

Stefan Pfeiffer

YCN representative from the Swiss Association for Materials Science and Technology

Laboratory for High Performance Ceramics, Empa – Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology


I am a PhD student in the Laboratory for High Performance Ceramics of Empa. In my PhD thesis supervised by Prof. Dr. Thomas Graule and Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil. Christos G. Aneziris, I am focusing on the preparation of customized oxide ceramic granules for laser additive manufacturing. The work addresses the challenges of weak part densification, low powder flowability, low laser light absorption and crack formation (low thermal shock resistance) in laser powder bed fusion of alumina. The approaches pursued are an increase of the powder bed density, an increase of the powder absorbance and a minimization of thermal stresses by the use of different additives.

During my studies of material science and engineering at Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg, I already specialized in additive manufacturing of ceramic based materials in the group of Prof. Dr. Nahum Travitzky focusing on laminated object manufacturing of ceramics. This technology is based on ceramic tapes or preceramic papers, which are laminated and cut layer by layer and subsequently, thermally treated to produce ceramic components. However, structures made of preceramic papers have in general a wide range of porosity. In my master thesis, I studied the infiltration of porous paper-derived ceramic components to produce dense ceramic-metal interpenetrating composites. Furthermore, I had the great chance to gain experience abroad by spending 7 months at the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina in Florianopolis (Brazil) as a part of my master's studies.

Since my doctoral studies are in their final stage, I am already looking for a postdoc position. Knowing already the challenges of other additive manufacturing methods and gaining an extensive expertise in these technologies, my scientific priority would be to further work intensively on this subject. It is an emerging manufacturing technology, but ceramics only appear as a niche up to now, accounting for less than 2% of the total AM material sales. This shows that there is a lot of room for scientific improvement.

As the Swiss representative of the YCN, I hope to expand the Swiss network of young scientist working with ceramics and bring them closer together. Thus, if you require any further information, please feel free to contact me. I look forward to hearing from you.

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