Darvan is a deflocculant and used to disperse ceramic suspensions to minimize their water content. It is a liquid alternative to the long popular sodium silicate. About twice as much is required typically (0.4-0.5%) however Darvan does offer a number of advantages.
Typically soda ash is not needed as a complement and Darvan does not attack plaster molds. In addition slurries are much less sensitive to over deflocculation and are more stable. It is thus easier to reprocess scrap. However a number of engineers still prefer using a sodium silicate:soda ash mix to control thixotropic properties better, especially if little scrap is being added.