The dispersion characteristics of commercial Si3N4 powder in aqueous media (deionized water) was studied as a function of pH in the range 2–11. The slip was characterized for its dispersion quality by various experimental techniques like particle size analysis, sedimentation phenomena, viscosity and flow behaviour and zeta potential analysis. The optimum dispersion was found to be in the pH region 9–11 wherein the slurry displayed minimum sedimentation height, minimum viscosity, near Newtonian flow behaviour and maximum zeta potential. The slip is highly agglomerated in the pH range 2–8 as manifested by higher sedimentation height, higher viscosity, lower zeta potential and thixotropic non-Newtonian flow behaviour. The 72 wt% (44 vol.%) Si3N4 slips made at pH = 10 resulted in green bodies having 53–59% of theoretical density after casting into plaster molds.
Volume 42 | Issue 5