•The secret to cool bodies and glazes is a lot of testing.
•The secret to know what to test is material and chemistry knowledge.
•The secret to learning from testing is documentation.
•The place to test, do the chemistry and document is an account at https://insight-live.com
•The place to get the knowledge is https://digitalfire.com

Sign-up at https://insight-live.com today.

Unity Formula

A "unity formula" is just a formula that has been retotaled so that the RO group of oxides totals one. This is also called a Seger formula and this standard provides one basis for comparing glazes. The three column format of expressing a formula was first used by Hermann Seger. The unity is normally set to the fluxes. Here is how we would recalculate a raw formula to a flux unity:

           Raw              Unity
Oxides Formula Formula
K2O 0.6 / 2.2 = 0.27
CaO 1.3 / 2.2 = 0.59
MgO 0.2 / 2.2 = 0.09
ZnO 0.1 / 2.2 = 0.05
----- ----
Flux Total 2.2 1.0
Al2O3 0.9 / 2.2 = 0.41
SiO2 9.0 / 2.2 = 4.09

The Seger method of rationalizing the chemistry of glazes does not work as well at lower temperatures because some oxides that are powerful fluxes at high temperatures are refractory in low fire. Oxides have a much more individual presence (at each temperature range) than the Seger method tends to recognize. Also, their contributions to particular properties often are not linear according to concentration. For example, boron is both a glass and a flux and the logic for its employment at various temperature ranges differs. It does not 'plug into' a Seger formula well. For these are other reasons, many people prefer to use Mole%.

Digitalfire desktop Insight required that users specify whether to unify materials or RO or R2O3. However Insight-live automatically sets this (the greater of the total of the two sets that one to unity).

A Limitation of the Seger Unity Formula

A Limitation of the Seger Unity Formula

Mineral sources of oxides impose their own melting patterns and when one is substituted for another to supply an oxide a different system with its own relative chemistry is entered. An extreme example of this would be to source Al2O3 to a glaze using calcined alumina instead of kaolin. Although the formula may be exactly the same, the fired result would be completely different because very little of the alumina would dissolve into the glaze melt. At the opposite extreme, a different frit could be used to supply a set of oxides (while maintaining the overall chemistry of the glaze) and the fired result would be much more chemically predictable. Why? Because the readily and release their oxides the the melt.

In Bound Links

  • (Glossary) Mole%

    Mole% is a way of expressing the oxide formula of a fired glaze or glass (technicians can extrapolate fired properties like melting temperature, thermal expansion, hardness, resistance to leaching, etc. by examining the chemistry of a glaze). Mole% is preferred over the Seger unity formula by many t...

  • (Glossary) Analysis

    Conceptually we consider fired glazes as being composed of 'oxides'. Materials supply those oxides to the melt. The ten major oxides likely make up 99% of all base glazes (and materials we use). The oxide formula of a glaze "explains" many details about the way the glaze fires. Thus we can view m...

  • (Glossary) LOI

    Simplistically, LOI is the percentage of weight a material loses on firing. Assuming firing to a typical stoneware temperature of 1200C, the amount of weight loss can be surprising. Kaolins, for example, lose around 12% (mainly crystal-bound water). Ball clays lose about half of that (a combination ...

  • (Glossary) Formula

    Conceptually we consider fired ceramic glazes as being composed of 'oxides' (materials contribute these). The ten major oxides likely make up 99% of all base glazes (and materials we use). The oxide formula of a glaze "explains" many details about the way the glaze fires (provided all the materials ...

  • (Videos) Lesson 5A - Glaze Formula to Batch Calculations

    Shows you how to use a non-unity calculation and the supply button to convert a formula into a batch recipe. You will find out how to match a target formula exactly using theoretical materials and how...

By Tony Hansen

Feedback, Suggestions

Your email address


Your Name


Copyright 2003, 2008, 2015 https://digitalfire.com, All Rights Reserved