Rheologica Acta

, Volume 48, Issue 2, pp 121–133 | Cite as

Leveling and thixotropic characteristics of concentrated zirconia inks for screen-printing

  • John W. PhairEmail author
  • Mats Lundberg
  • Andreas Kaiser
Original Contribution


Screen-printing is a cost-effective method for the mass manufacture of zirconia-based solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) and oxygen separation membranes. The present work outlines an investigation into the leveling, thixotropic, and screen-printing characteristics of concentrated zirconia inks by a variety of rheological and imaging methods. A combination of viscosity, shear rate jump experiments, creep and recovery analysis, and yield stress measurements were used to assess ink thixotropy. Oscillatory rheometry and scanning electron microscopy/optical microscopy revealed a consistent effect of ethyl cellulose (binder) content upon the thixotropic and leveling characteristics of zirconia inks. While the yield stress (τ 0), extent of recovery R(%), and rate of recovery (K) increase with increasing binder content, so did the surface roughness and thickness of the screen-printed films. Increasing the binder content not only increases the network strength of the thick films but also leads to increased leveling time. As a result, rheological modifiers are proposed to be necessary to improve the leveling characteristics of zirconia inks without losing the green strength of the thick films.


Inks Thixotropy Yield stress Leveling Coatings 



The author gratefully acknowledges Lene Knudsen for the preparation of the ink samples.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Fuel Cells and Solid State Chemistry, Risø National Laboratory for Sustainable EnergyTechnical University of DenmarkRoskildeDenmark

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