All types of ceramic are fired in a kiln to cement particles together to produce a hard and water and temperature resistant product.
At it most basic level, firing is process of heating a clay (or recipe of clays and minerals) to a temperature sufficient to fuse the particles together. However today, each type of ceramic has its not only its own firing temperature, but also schedule (control of the rate of rise and fall of the kiln). In addition the atmospheric pressure and atmosphere itself within the kiln are controlled for many types of firing, either by restricting the amount of oxygen in the chamber or replacing it entirely by another gas (like nitrogen). In addition kilns subject the load to drafts to help even out temperature and atmosphere and carry away water vapor and products of combustion and decomposition of bodies and glazes. Firing also varies in the types of fuel that are used (e.g. coal, gas, wood, sawdust, oil, electric) and the type of kiln (kilns vary widely in the way they deliver heat to the ware and channel it out).
The use of some traditional firing techniques is still popular among modern potters and sculptors (who are accustomed electric and gas kilns, often with computer controllers).
Salt firing is a process where unglazed ware is fired to high temperatures and salt is introduced to produce a vapor that glazes the ware.
A method of firing stoneware where the kiln air intakes and burners are set to restrict or eliminate oxygen in the kiln such that metallic oxides convert to their reduced metallic state.
Designing a good kiln firing schedule for your ware is a very important, and often overlooked factor for obtained successful firings.
In ceramics, this is the period in the kiln firing where the final mechanical water is being removed. The temperature at which this can be done is higher than you might think.
Refers to the practice of slow-heating a kiln during early stages to give mechanically-bound water a chance to escape.
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