Dunting is cracking associated with too rapid a cool-down of the kiln. Dunting often exhibits itself as simple hairline cracks, but ware can fracture into pieces.
Low fire ware cracking during firing. Why?
Most low-fire bodies contain talc. It is added for the express purpose of increasing thermal expansion. The natural quartz present does the same. These are good for glaze fit but bad for ware like this. You could fiddle with the clay recipe or change bodies, but better to change the firing schedule. While stoneware dunting happens between 950-1150F on the way down, this could be happening anywhere. A simple fix is to slow down the entire cooling cycle. Learn to program your kiln. Use a conservative cooling rate of about 200F/hr (even slower between 950 to 1150). No electronic controller? Learn a switch-setting-schedule to approximate this down-ramp (buy a pyrometer if needed).
A dunting crack
Example of a dunting crack in a flat deep cone 6 porcelain bowl. The bowl has a wide bottom that heat-sinks to the shelf, so during firing there is a temperature gradient between the walls and the base. That difference in temperature translates to stress because it means that different parts of the piece are experiencing different thermal contractions as it cools in the kiln.
Can a glaze crack a plate? Yes.
This is a thin slip-cast plate made from a high-silica (therefore high thermal expansion) clay and a thick layer of low thermal expansion glaze. During the cooling in the kiln the clay shrinks and the glaze shrinks less. This puts the latter under compression, and the body under tension. A ceramic does not do well under tension. A week after firing the piece spontaneously cracked to relieve the tension.
An example of dunting on a low, flat casserole shape
A crack has released the stresses produced by uneven thermal contraction during cool-down in the kiln. This usually happens by cooling too quickly through quartz inversion.
An unevenly cooled tile has cracked
Example of a severely dunted cone 6 stoneware tile. This problem was deliberately created by stacking several tiles on top of this one. This set up a temperature gradient across it so that different parts passed through quartz inversion at different times.
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