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Dispersion Glossary

Learn about common phrases and definitions for high-quality laboratory equipment from the BYK-Gardner Dispersion Team in our Dispersion Glossary.


Additive: Substance added to a coating system to improve performance; examples include chemicals used for wetting, deflocculation and stabilization.

Agglomerates: Particles loosely clustered together which is usually reversible. 

Aggregates: Clustered particles more tightly bound together that is often not reversible.


Basket Mill: Features a rotating basket to accelerate the grinding media via centrifugal force; there is also a grinding disc and the basket contains grinding beads to assist in the dispersion process.

Bead Mill: Dispersion is by pumping the fluid into a rotating chamber that contains grinding beads; the fluid can be recirculated for additional dispersion if needed.

Binder: Substance that acts as a cohesive element


Deflocculation: Reversing the coagulation of particles

Dissolver Disc: The rotational device in a high-speed disperser that agitates the mixture to evenly disperse all components.

Dispersion: Substances mixed and distributed evenly within another medium.

Dispersion Doughnut: The laminar rolling flow pattern that is observed when the dispersion speed is optimized so that there is no standing material on the container wall and a channel forms around the shaft exposing part of the dissolver disc.

Dye: A natural or synthetic substance used to change or add color to something; usually not UV stable.


Emulsion: A dispersion of one liquid into another in which it is not dissolvable or miscible.


Flocculation: When fine particulates clump together into a “floc” which either floats to the top or sinks to the bottom of the liquid.


Grind Gage: An instrument that measures the fineness of grind or presence of coarse particles or agglomerates in a dispersion.


High-Speed Disperser: Instrument where a disc type blade is mounted on a shaft and rotates at high speed to grind and mix ingredients to obtain an even distribution.

Homogenizer: Machine used to mix two non-soluble liquids together so that the resulting single liquid is the same throughout.


Inorganic Pigments: Composed of mineral compounds such as oxides and sulphides


Millbase: A colored paint that contains a high amount of pigment used to tint or make paint


Newtonian fluid: Viscosity remains the same regardless of shear or force.

Non-Newtonian fluid: Viscosity changes as shear or force is applied.


Organic Pigments: Carbon-based pigments that can contain metallic (inorganic) compounds for stability.


Pigment: Inorganic or organic substance used to impart or change color; usually UV stable.


Stabilization: Achieved by adding the proper dispersing additive to prevent particles from clumping together causing flocculation.


Viscosity: The resistance of fluid to flow; generally, the lower the viscosity, the easier it flows.


Wetting: The ability of a liquid to maintain contact with a solid surface when the two interact; wetting additives are used to facilitate this process.

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