|Monthly Tech-Tip |
A hydrometer is being used to check the specific gravity of a ceramic casting slip in a graduated cylinder. Common traditional clay-containing ceramic slips are usually maintained around 1.75-1.8. In this case the slurry was too heavy, almost 1.9. Yet it is very fluid, why is this? It has both too much clay and too much deflocculant. While it is possible to use such a slip, it will not drain as well and it will gel too quickly as it stands. It is better to settle for a lower specific gravity (where you can control the thixotropy and it is easier to use). It might have been better to simply fill a 100cc cylinder and weigh it to get the specific gravity (slurries that are very viscous do not permit hydrometers to float freely).
Understanding the Deflocculation Process in Slip Casting
Understanding the magic of deflocculation and how to measure specific gravity and viscosity, and how to interpret the results of these tests to adjust the slip, these are the key to controlling a casting process.
In ceramics, this term refers to the flow and gel properties of a glaze or body suspension (made from water and mineral powders, with possible additives, deflocculants, modifiers).
Deflocculation is the magic behind the ceramic casting process, it enables slurries having impossibly low water contents and ware having amazingly low drying shrinkage
In ceramics, the specific gravity of slurries tells us their water-to-solids ratio. That ratio is a key indicator of performance and enabler of consistency.