Working under a grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), Hoskins and Research Fellow David Huson have been developing a 3D ceramic printing process that can build very finely detailed, complex structures to industrial specifications and standards. The process works by depositing a layer of wet ceramic material layer by layer. As each layer is printed, the printer table drops, a layer of powder is deposited to support the object, and the process repeats.
It isn’t actually a ceramic, but rather a paste made of quartz or sand, calcite lime and a mixture of alkalis. Because of this, it can be applied directly to wet clay. When the pottery is fired, the paste turns into a brilliant blue-green glaze reminiscent of lapis lazuli, which the Egyptians used faience as a substitute for.