Laminations are planes of weakly connected material in the plastic matrix of a clay body. Pugging and mixing of clay bodies can introduce laminations. For example, clays are cut and layered thousands of times during the mixing and extrusion processes, however pressures within the machine knits the layers back together. However, a number of factors can impede the knitting process. Pugmills can introduce laminations when the extrusion head does not compress the clay enough, when the blades in the mixing chamber are not properly set or are excessively worn, when the machine is run beyond its capacity and when the vacuum chamber has inadequate vaccum. Another factor is body formulation, if a mix contains too much sand or silt laminations may result. Laminations can be seen in a pugged slug by cutting a slice laterally and bending it. Laminations can also be caused by improper forming and working methods.The most obvious is when water or powder is trapped between the layers during wedging or kneading. Likewise, any form of throwing that uses layering between which water can be trapped can produce a lamination.
What happens when you dry and bisque a piece made of pure kaolin?
The way in which the walls of this bisque fired kaolin cup laminate reflect the plately and uniform nature of the kaolin particles. Because they are lining up during the wedging and throwing process, the strength to resist cracks is better along the circumference than perpendicular to it. The bonds are weak enough that it is very easy to break it apart by hand (even though it is bisque fired). The worst laminations were at the bottom where wall thickness was the most variable and therefore the most drying stresses occurred. However, if this kaolin were blended with feldspar and silica, this lamination tendency would completely disappear.
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