A gelcasting composition has improved drying behavior, machinability and shelf life in the dried and unfired state. The composition includes an inorganic powder, solvent, monomer system soluble in the solvent, an initiator system for polymerizing the monomer system, and a plasticizer soluble in the solvent. Dispersants and other processing aides to control slurry properties can be added. The plasticizer imparts an ability to dry thick section parts, to store samples in the dried state without cracking under conditions of varying relative humidity, and to machine dry gelcast parts without cracking or chipping. A method of making gelcast parts is also disclosed.
This invention was made with government support under contract DE-AC05- 96OR22464, awarded by the United States Department of Energy to Lockheed Martin Energy Research Corporation, and the United States Government has certain rights in this invention.