Exploring the mechanical properties of additively manufactured carbon-rich zirconia 3D microarchitectures

J.P. Winczewski*, S. Zeiler*, S. Gabel, A. Susarrey-Arce*, J.G.E. Gardeniers, B. Merle*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
39 Downloads (Pure)


Two-photon lithography (TPL) is a promising technique for manufacturing ceramic microstructures with nanoscale resolution. The process relies on tailor-made precursor resins rich in metal-organic and organic constituents, which can lead to carbon-based residues incorporated within the ceramic microstructures. While these are generally considered unwanted impurities, our study reveals that the presence of carbon-rich residues in the form of graphitic and disordered carbon in tetragonal (t-) ZrO2 can benefit the mechanical strength of TPL microstructures. In order to achieve a better understanding of these effects, we deconvolute the structural and materials contributions to the strength of the 3D microarchitectures by comparing them to plain micropillars. We vary the organic content by different thermal treatments, resulting in different crystal structures. The highest compression strength of 3.73 ± 0.21 GPa and ductility are reached for the t-ZrO2 micropillars, which also contain the highest carbon content. This paradoxical finding opens up new perspectives and will foster the development of “brick and mortar”-like ceramic microarchitectures.
Original languageEnglish
Article number112142
Number of pages11
JournalMaterials & Design
Early online date11 Jul 2023
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023


  • Additive manufacturing
  • 3D printing
  • Zirconia
  • UT-Gold-D


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