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Carbon trap glazes


Glazes with variegated patterns of grey and black from carbon trapped below the surface.
The effect is created by fuel firing without adequate oxygen in early stages to build up soot (carbon) on the surface of ware. As the firing continues, the carbon trap glaze begins to melt before the carbon sitting on the surface burns away. Carbon is a refractory material and will stay in a glaze as long as there is no oxygen to combine with it. Typically this type of glaze includes soda ash or other soluble alkaline fluxes which will migrate to the surface of the raw glaze as it dries, forming a crust of alkalis which will melt earlier than the rest of the glaze, thus facilitating the carbon trapping.

More carbon needs to burn out than you might think!

More carbon needs to burn out than you might think!

Hard to believe, but this carbon is on ten-gram balls of low fire glazes having 85% frit. Yes, this is an extreme test because glazes are applied in thin layers, but glazes sit atop bodies much higher in carbon bearing materials. And the carbon is sticking around at temperatures much higher than it is supposed to (not yet burned away at 1500F)! The lower row is G1916J, the upper is G1916Q. These balls were fired to determine the point at which the glazes densify enough that they will not pass gases being burned from the body below (around 1450F). Our firings of these glazes now soak at 1400F (on the way up). Not surpisingly, industrial manufacturers seek low carbon content materials.

In Bound Links

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    As glazes melt, on first fire, gases from decompos...

  • (Glossary) Shino

    Shino glazes were developed in Japan and their aes...


By Tony Hansen




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