Binder Compositions for Laser Sintering Processes

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Rapid prototyping has developed steadily as an industry over the past two decades. The leading four companies in the field had aggregate sales estimated at $387 million in 2007, approximately a 10% increase over 2006. However, currently there is no binder capable of providing the structural support to cast ceramic or metal powders and then dissolving. Consequently, access to hard, durable metal or ceramic parts through rapid prototyping processes is not currently available. Polymeric binder compositions are a novel invention that is useful in the prototyping of metal and ceramic parts. These powders are suitable for production of metal and ceramic computer-modeled prototypes and test parts from processes such as selective laser sintering. Green parts produced in this manner are post-processed to be substantially free of binder. This invention for the first time allows metal or ceramic parts to be produced by the low-power lasers used in the laser sintering process.

While referred to as prototype parts, such parts may may also be used to test new designs and new types of machine parts. This technology overcomes disadvantages of wax or plastic parts, such as lack of durability and dissimilarity in performance to ultimately used part composition. The invention includes novel binder compositions, methods of preparing such compositions, novel metal and ceramic powder compositions, and methods of using the novel binder coated metal and ceramic particles composites to produce prototype parts.


  • Allows for the rapid protyping of metal and ceramic prototypes currently unavailable by selective laser sintering.

Market Potential/Applications

Rapid prototyping and free-form manufacturing.

For further information please contact

University of Texas,
Austin, USA
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