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Mineral: Gypsum, Calcium sulphate
CaSO4 2H2O is the crystalline mineral from which plaster is made. It is not practical as a source of CaO in glazes because its decomposition produces SO3 which is dangerous to health and it is destructive to the integrity of the glaze layer (and potentially the fired glaze quality).
Calcium sulphate has three different decomposition stages that generate water vapor and/or sulfur gases, two of which are reversible. These start below the boiling point of water and end well before 500C. Many ceramic clays, for example, contain sulfur, but either the percentage of slufur in the material is low or the percentage of the material used in glazes is low. Thus, in theory, calcium sulfate should be not responsible for glaze imperfections like blisters and pinholes (unless the glaze has a low melt fluidity or is fired very fast).
Calcium sulphate is often found in raw clay deposits as a partially soluble impurity that causes efflorescence, a plague to many ceramic industries (especially brick). During drying the salts are left behind of the surface of the clay to discolor it after firing. Barium carbonate is often used to precipitate this material.
Calcium sulphate reacts with sodium silicate and soda ash in a calcium-for-sodium ion exchange, and this process will eventually clog the pore structure of a mold used for casting slips containing it (the use of polyacrylate deflocculants will prevent this).
Out Bound Links
Limestone, Calcium Carbonate
Also called GCC (Ground Calcium Carbonate), limestone is a very common sedimentary rock. Calcite and Aragonite minerals are the pure crystalline forms of CaCO3 (limestone contains them), but limestone...
Gypsum at Wikipedia
The Use of Barium in Clay Bodies
Hazards of barium carbonate, considerations regarding its use in clay bodies for precipitation of soluble salts
A term describing the whitish or brownish scum (depending on iron content) left on the surface of a fired clay body (most often red earthenware or raw stoneware and fireclays). Many clays contain soluble sulphates that are left on the surface after having been left there by water that has subsequent...
Gypsum mineral data
Calcium sulfate at Wikipedia
Barium Carbonate - BaCO3
Barium Carb, Witherite
In Bound Links
By Tony Hansen