Additive Manufacturing in Glass: Electrosintering and spark gap glass

Our initial experiments in spark electrosintering fabrication have demonstrated a capacity to solidify granular materials (35-88 micron soda ash glass powder) rapidly using high voltages and power in excess of 1 kW. The testbed high-voltage setup comprises a 220V 60A variable autotransformer and a 14,400V line transformer. There are two methods to form members using electrosintering: the one-electrode drag (1ED) and two-electrode drag (2ED) techniques. The 1ED leaves the first electrode static while dragging the second through the granular mixture. This maintains a live current through the drag path and increases the thickness of the member due to the dissipation of heat. Large member elements have been produced with a tube diameter of around 0.75". The 2ED method pulls both electrodes through the granular mixture together, sintering the material between the electrodes in a more controlled manner.

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