Research Paper - 2020

3D printing of clay for decorative architectural applications: Effect of solids volume fraction on rheology and printability.


During 2019 we worked with PhD Candidate Shareen Chan and Prof George V. Franks from Chemical Engineering, Melbourne School of Engineering, University of Melbourne. We looked at the effect of solids volume fraction on rheology and printability of a particular clay we were 3D printing with. Through this research were were able to determine material properties that resulted in better 3D printing quality, and following this research, are able to compare various clay formulations. This allows us to more easily improve our printing process. For example the findings of this research was an important part of the development of one of the worlds fastest clay 3D printers.


The effect of varying the solids volume fraction of an aqueous clay paste suspension on its printability via an Additive Manufacturing (AM) or 3D printing technique, Direct Ink Writing (DIW) or material extrusion, has been studied. DIW is a cost-effective and straightforward fabrication technology suitable for adoption at a larger scale by the traditional ceramics industry and the creative community. The pastes were prepared with volume fraction of solids ranging from 25–57 vol%. Their rheological properties (storage modulus and apparent yield stress) were measured by dynamic oscillatory rheometry. The relationships between solids content, rheological behaviour and print parameters were evaluated. An equation based on rheological properties to delineate between printable and non-printable conditions has been proposed. Several decorative pieces have been produced for architectural purposes.


The paper can be access via this link (free until July 28, 2020)

Following this, you will be able to access the paper via your institutions library.

Shareen S.L. Chan, Ryan M. Pennings, Lewis Edwards, George V. Franks, 3D printing of clay for decorative architectural applications: Effect of solids volume fraction on rheology and printability, Additive Manufacturing, Volume 35, 2020, 101335, ISSN 2214-8604,

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