Abstract

In suspension spraying, the two most frequently used solvents are water and ethanol. In this study, we test a potential alternative, a high-molecular weight solvent. Two organic solvents are compared: ethanol (serving as a benchmark, suspension formulated at 10 wt.% solid load) and di-propylene glycol methyl ether (two suspensions at 10 wt.% and 20 wt.%). Submicron alpha-alumina powder is used as a model material to formulate the suspensions. It is shown that ethanol- and ether-based-feedstock coatings are fully comparable in terms of their microstructure, porosity content, surface roughness, and hardness. However, the ether-based coatings exhibit slightly higher levels of α-Al2O3 phase than their ethanol-based counterpart (17 wt.% vs. 6 wt.%). The use of 20 wt.% solid load in the ether solvent leads to a twofold increase in the deposition rate while, as opposed to ethanol, successfully retaining a dense microstructure. Ether also costs less than ethanol and is safer to handle.

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