The stabilization of alumina suspensions is key to the development of high-performance materials for the ceramic industry, which has motivated extensive research into synthetic polymers used as stabilizers. In this study, mimosa tannin extract and a chitosan derivative, that is, macromolecules obtained from renewable resources, are shown to be promising to replace synthetic polymers, yielding less viscous suspensions with smaller particles and greater fluidity, that is, more homogeneous suspensions that may lead to better-quality products. The functional groups of tannin present in mimosa extract and N,N,N-trimethylchitosan (TMC) are capable of establishing interactions with the alumina surface, thus leading to repulsion between the particles mainly due to steric and electrosteric mechanisms, respectively. The stabilization of the suspension induced by either TMC or mimosa tannin was confirmed by a considerable decrease in viscosity and average particle size, in comparison with alumina suspensions without stabilizing agents. The viscosity/average particle size decreased by 49/84% and 52/87% for suspensions with TMC and mimosa tannin, respectively. In addition, the increase in the absolute zeta potential upon addition of either TMC or mimosa tannin extract, especially at high pHs, points to an increased stability of the suspension. The feasibility of using derivatives of macromolecules from renewable sources to stabilize aqueous alumina suspensions was therefore demonstrated. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2010
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