Rheological behavior of PMN gels for solid freeform fabrication
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Lead magnesium niobate (PMN) is a relaxor ferroelectric material and have widespread applications in the manufacture of multilayer electronic devices such as ceramic capacitors, actuators and transducers. The dielectric constant of this electrostrictive material is much higher than the well known ferroelectric barium titanate. However, aqueous processing of PMN is not investigated yet especially for the novel wet shaping fabrication. In this study, concentrated aqueous colloidal PMN gels have been designed to use in the robocasting process. Concentrated PMN suspensions were stabilized by polyacrylic acid and then gelation induced by changing the pH or ionic strength of the suspension or by addition of a cationic polyelectrolyte to the system. Through this procedure it was essential to understand the solid-liquid transition under shear to explore the feasibility of forming without excessive use of polymers. Therefore, rheological response of the samples having a gel network was investigated. Results showed that gelation induced by cationic polyethylene imine or by multivalent salts were successful methods in preparation of PMN gels. However, gelation induced by changing the pH of the suspension was challenging due to ion dissolution from PMN surface.