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Tony Hansen's Thousand-Post TimeLine

I am the creator of Digitalfire Insight, the Digitalfire Reference Database and Insight-live.com. ... more

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Can you make a black-burning stoneware using black iron oxide?

Iron oxide has been added to a stoneware clay and samples fired at cone 6. They contain black iron oxide (10%, 5% and 2.5%). Even at 2.5% the raw pugged body is very black and messy to work with. Did they fire black? Or even dark grey? No. Some form of manganese is needed.

Monday 15th May 2017

4% iron oxide in a clear glaze. Unscreened. The result: Fired specks.

Iron oxide is a very fine powder. Unfortunately it can agglomerate badly and no amount of wet mixing seems to break down the lumps. However putting the glaze through a screen, in this case, 80 mesh, does reduce them in size. Ball milling would remove them completely. Other oxide colorants have this same issue (e.g. cobalt oxide). Stains disperse much better in slurries.

Thursday 11th May 2017

Redart (left) vs. Lizella clay. Definitely not substitutes for each other.

These bars have been fired at cones 4, 2, 02, 04 (top to bottom) using the SHAB testing procedure. We can measure fired shrinkage and porosity in each to get an indication of their fired maturity. The Redart (left) is much more vitreous and reaches almost zero porosity by cone 4 whereas the Lizella ... more

Sunday 7th May 2017

Stamp used for stamping information onto clay test bars

This type of stamp is deal for stamping mix and ID information on SHAB (and many other test types) clay test bars. Set up the run or recipe number on the left and the specimen number on the right.

Sunday 7th May 2017

These two frits have one difference in the chemistry: Al2O3.

These two boron frits (Ferro 3124 left, 3134 right) have almost the same chemistry. But there is one difference: The one on the right has no Al2O3, the one on the left has 10%. Alumina plays an important role (as an oxide that builds the glass) in stiffening the melt, giving it body and lowering its ... more

Thursday 20th April 2017

How to make a ceramic time-bomb

This mug is pinging loudly and literally self-destructing in front of my eyes! Why? The glaze is under so much compression (the inside is pushing outward, the outside inward). Spiral cracks are developing all the way up the side. Small razor-sharp flakes are shivering off convex contours. Why? I ... more

Sunday 16th April 2017

Example of how bubbles dissipate in a glaze with increasing temperature

This is a Gerstley Borate based recipe (45%) melted in crucibles at increasing temperatures. Although the recipe is well melted at cone 2, it is still not fluid enough to enable their migration in the time available. By contrast, the melt at the upper temperature is much less viscous, enabling all ... more

Sunday 16th April 2017

Ceramic Oxide Periodic Table

All common traditional ceramic base glazes are made from only a dozen elements (plus oxygen). Materials decompose when glazes melt, sourcing these elements in oxide form. The kiln builds the glaze from these, it does not care what material sources what oxide (assuming, of course, that all materials ... more

Wednesday 12th April 2017

Insight-Live comparing a glossy and matte cone 6 base glaze recipe

Insight-live is calculating the unity formula and mole% formula for the two glazes. Notice how different the formula and mole% are for each (the former compares relative numbers of molecules, the latter their weights). The predominant oxides are very different. The calculation is accurate because ... more

Wednesday 12th April 2017

Same high-iron glaze. One crystallizes and the other does not. Why?

Both mugs have the same cone 6 oxidation high-iron (9%), high-boron, glossy glaze. Iron silicate crystals have completely invaded the surface of the one on the right, turning the near-black glossy into a yellowy matte. Why? Three things. It was slow-cooled and the other free-fall-cooled (firings ... more

Wednesday 12th April 2017

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What people have said about digitalfire

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• Your resources are truly amazing and as an ex electronic engineer (now a potter), I really am impressed with your analytical approaches. Your site is almost a complete college level course on pottery (less the throwing & handbuilding). Thank you for your wonderful contributions.

• Thanks again for a thinking potter's website on glazes - working to take the guess work out of firing results!


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