Alternate Names: F3124
This is a USA pottery frit. Ferro now calls it Frit 3124-2.
This borosilicate frit is high in calcium. It melts are very low temperatures and among the most useful of all common frits because of its glaze-like balanced chemistry. This frit has a chemistry somewhat similar to 3134 (the latter adds CaO, Na2O and B2O3 at the expense of all the Al2O3 and some SiO2.
Its stated intention is a calcium boron source for partially fritted glazes for wall tile and pottery, also in lead bisilicate dinnerware glazes in the cone 3-5 range. However, within pottery circles, like frit 3195 this frit is almost a complete glaze at low temperatures (requiring only a 10-20% addition of kaolin to suspend it). It has a medium thermal expansion and fits most bodies. However if glazes shiver some of this can be traded for Frit 3110. If they craze some can be substituted for Frit 3249. Frit 3124 is often added to glazes to make them melt lower, this works well because it is quite balanced already as a glaze, the net effect of adding it is to increase the boron content without overly disrupting the balance of other oxides.
Since the chemistry is high in CaO, it will affect browns and iron oxide colors.
I used a binder to form 10 gram GBMF test balls and fired them at cone 08 (1700F). Frits melt really well, they do not gas and they have chemistries we cannot get from raw materials (similar ones to these are sold by other manufacturers). These contain boron (B2O3), it is magic, a low expansion super-melter. Frit 3124 (glossy) and 3195 (silky matte) are balanced-chemistry bases (just add 10-15% kaolin for a cone 04 glaze, or more silica+kaolin to go higher). Consider Frit 3110 a man-made low-Al2O3 super feldspar. Its high-sodium makes it high thermal expansion. It works in bodies and is great to incorporate into glazes that shiver. The high-MgO Frit 3249 (for the abrasives industry) has a very-low expansion, it is great for fixing crazing glazes. Frit 3134 is similar to 3124 but without Al2O3. Use it where the glaze does not need more Al2O3 (e.g. it already has enough clay). It is no accident that these are used by potters in North America, they complement each other well. The Gerstley Borate is a natural source of boron (with issues frits do not have).
This chart compares the decompositional gassing behavior of six materials as they are heated through the range 500-1700F. These materials are common in ceramic glazes, it is amazing that some can lose 40%, or even 50%, of their weight on firing. For example, 100 grams of calcium carbonate will generate 45 grams of CO2! This chart is a reminder that some late gassers overlap early melters. That is a problem. The LOI (% weight loss) of these materials can affect your glazes (causing bubbles, blisters, pinholes, crawling). Notice talc: It is not finished gassing until 1650F, yet many glazes have already begun melting by then (especially fritted ones). Even Gerstley Borate, a raw material, is beginning to melt while talc is barely finished gassing. And, there are lots of others that also create gases as they decompose during glaze melting (e.g. clays, carbonates, dioxides).
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 thermal expansion, you can see that in the way these flow when melting at 1800F. The frit on the right is invaluable where the glaze needs clay to suspend it (because the clay can supply the Al2O3). The frit on the left is better when the glaze already has plenty of clay, so it supplies the Al2O3. Of course, you need to be able to do the chemistry to figure out how to substitute these for each other because it involves changing the silica and kaolin amounts in the recipe also.
Five common North American Ferro Frits fired at 1850F on alumina tiles (each started as a 10 gram GBMF test ball and flattened during the firing). At this temperature, the differences in the degree of melting are more evident that at 1950F. The degree of melting corresponds mainly to the percentage of B2O3 present. However Frit 3134 is the runaway leader because it contains no Al2O3 to stabilize the melt. Frit 3110 is an exception, it has low boron but very high sodium.
Fired at 1850. Notice that Frit 3195 is melting earlier. By 1950F, they appear much more similar. Melting earlier can be a disadvantage, it means that gases still escaping as materials in the body and glaze decompose get trapped in the glass matrix. But if the glaze melts later, these have more time to burn away. Glazes that have a lower B2O3 content will melt later, frit 3195 has 23% while Frit 3124 only has 14%).
|Materials||Ferro Frit 3134|
|Materials||General Frit GF-113|
|Materials||Fusion Frit F-19|
|Materials||Hommel Frit 378A|
|Materials||Pemco Frit P-311|
|Materials||Hommel Frit 90|
|Materials||Frit RCG 2430|
|Materials||Ferro Frit 4124|
|Materials||PotteryCrafts Frit P3124|
|Materials||Potclays Frit 2272|
Ferro Pottery Frits 2008
|Co-efficient of Linear Expansion||7.94|
|Frit Melting Range (C)||1600-1750F|