Journal of Advanced Ceramics


laser, additive manufacturing, alumina, mullite, microstructure, mechanical properties


Melt-grown alumina-based composites are receiving increasing attention due to their potential for aerospace applications; however, the rapid preparation of high-performance components remains a challenge. Herein, a novel route for 3D printing dense (< 99.4%) high-performance melt-grown alumina-mullite/glass composites using directed laser deposition (DLD) is proposed. Key issues on the composites, including phase composition, microstructure formation/evolution, densification, and mechanical properties, are systematically investigated. The toughening and strengthening mechanisms are analyzed using classical fracture mechanics, Griffith strength theory, and solid/glass interface infiltration theory. It is demonstrated that the composites are composed of corundum, mullite, and glass, or corundum and glass. With the increase of alumina content in the initial powder, corundum grains gradually evolve from near-equiaxed dendrite to columnar dendrite and cellular structures due to the weakening of constitutional undercooling and small nucleation undercooling. The microhardness and fracture toughness are the highest at 92.5 mol% alumina, with 18.39±0.38 GPa and 3.07±0.13 MPa·m1/2, respectively. The maximum strength is 310.1±36.5 MPa at 95 mol% alumina. Strength enhancement is attributed to the improved densification due to the trace silica doping and the relief of residual stresses. The method unravels the potential of preparing dense high-performance melt-grown alumina-based composites by the DLD technology.