Aluminum nitride (AlN) exhibits many functional properties that are relevant to applications in electronics, aerospace, defense and automotive industries. However, the successful translation of these properties into final applications lies in the net-shaping of ceramics into fully dense microstructures. Increasing the packing density of the starting powders is one effective route to achieve high sintered density and dimensional precision. The present paper presents an in-depth study on the effects of nanoparticle addition on the powder injection molding process (PIM) of AlN powder-polymer mixtures. In particular, bimodal mixtures of nanoscale and sub-micrometer particles were found to have significantly increased powder packing characteristics (solids loading) in the powder-polymer mixtures. The influence of nanoparticle addition on the multi-step PIM process was examined. The above results provide new perspectives which could impact a wide range of materials, powder processing techniques and applications.

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