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Colloidal processing of chemically prepared zinc oxide varistors. Part I: Milling and dispersion of powder

  • Nelson S. Bell (a1), Joe Cesarano (a1), James A. Voigt (a1), Steve J. Lockwood (a1) and Duane B. Dimos (a1)...


Chemically prepared zinc oxide powders are fabricated for the production of high aspect ratio varistor components. Colloidal processing was performed to reduce agglomerates to primary particles, form a high solids loading slurry, and prevent dopant migration. The milled and dispersed powder exhibited a viscoelastic to elastic behavioral transition at a volume loading of 43–46%. The origin of this transition was studied using acoustic spectroscopy, zeta potential measurements, and oscillatory rheology. The phenomenon occurs due to a volume fraction solids dependent reduction in the zeta potential of the solid phase. It is postulated to result from divalent ion binding within the polyelectrolyte dispersant chain and was mitigated using a polyethylene glycol plasticizing additive. This allowed for increased solids loading in the slurry and a green body fabrication study to be presented in our companion paper.


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