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Can a decal firing melt a glaze? Yes!

Typical zero-boron high temperature glazes will not soften in a 1500F decal firing. But low temperature glazes will (especially those high in boron). Even middle temperature ones can soften. G3806C, for example, is reactive and fluid, it certainly will. Even G2926B, which has high Al2O3 and SiO2, has enough boron to soften and sometimes create tiny pits. In serious cases they can bubble like the mug on the right. Why? Steam. It was in use and had been absorbing water in the months since it was first glaze fired at cone 03. The one on the left was not used, but it did have some time to absorb water from the air, it is showing tiny pits in the surface. Even if moisture is not present, low fire bodies especially may still have some gases of decomposition to affect the glaze. One more thing: Fire the decals at the recommended temperature, often cone 022.

Why has this platter has cracked in half during a decal firing?

Your ware is fairly thick. It was already vitrified in a previous firing. It now must climb and fall through quartz and cristobalite inversions during a decal firing. The firing schedule provided by the decal supplier ramps up very quickly. The result? A cracked piece.

Why did this piece came out of a decal firing crazed?

This Cone 10 matte mug has been refired to attach decals. During the refire the Quartz-containing body passed up through quartz and cristobalite inversions while the glaze did not (all of its quartz was converted to silicates during the previous glaze firing). The sudden expansion in these two zones stretched the glaze and cracked it. Had that glaze been better fitted (under some compression) it would have been able to survive.

What is that glossy square around the decal?

An example of a digital decal that has been fired at 1500F onto a matte cone 6 glaze. Notice the glossy, square around the graphic. This is where the decal paper was cut prior to transfer. This glossy layer appears by design, the decal paper has a thin layer of glaze and your inkjet design is printed, reverse reading, onto that. After transfer and firing that glaze thus insulates the color from coming into contact with anything that might leach it. It is thus wise to trim carefully around designs such that the glossy pattern does not detract from the appearance (as it does here). You can get decals without the glaze covering, but may not melt enough to be durable on the glaze surface.

Decal on a raw body surface

Fired in a standard decal firing. The glaze on the tile has helped fuse it to a glossy surface. Has worked well except for adhesion problems during application (because the porous body adsorbed all the water immediately). If the tile had been soaked previously it would have been better.

Related Information

Links

Glossary Silk screen printing
Silk screen printing is one of the best options for hobbyists and potters to reproduce crisp and detailed decoration for their ware. But there are many details to know.
Glossary Quartz Inversion
In ceramics, this refers to the sudden volume change in crystalline quartz particles experience as they pass up and down through 573C. Fired cracks are often related to this.
Glossary Cristobalite Inversion
In ceramics, cristobalite is a form (polymorph) of silica. During firing quartz particles in porcelain can convert to cristobalite. This has implications on the thermal expansion of the fired matrix.
Glossary Ink Jet Printing
Ink jet printed decoration is now pervasive in all parts of the ceramic industry. And in hobby also.
Glossary Ceramic Ink
You can make your own ink (or buy it) and apply it to ware using various methods (e.g. rubber stamping, silk screen, inkjet decals).
URLs http://ceramigraphics.com
CeramiGraphics website
URLs http://ceramicdecals.org
CeramicDecals.org a very detailed information site on everything decals

By Tony Hansen


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