The dispersion of ceramic powders into some form of fluid vehicle is a near-universal procedure in the manufacture of ceramics and composites. Through this operation, different ceramic systems are blended together, brought to intimate contact with additives, and transformed into a material that can easily be shaped into complex geometries or applied as a coating. The dispersion step is critical because any inconsistencies or agglomerates usually cannot be corrected in downstream processing and directly affect finished product quality.
Quite often, a high-solids dispersion is favored so as to maximize density, reduce defects, shorten drying time and lower cost. Solids loading vary anywhere from 40% to upwards of 80%, depending on various characteristics of the ceramic particles, the solvent, binder and additives, their interactions, and the requirements of the forming method. Mixing strategies and techniques therefore also differ from one application to another.