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Sodium Silicate

Alternate Names: Waterglass

Oxide Analysis Formula
Na2O 50.78% 1.00
SiO2 49.22% 1.00
Oxide Weight 122.10
Formula Weight 122.10

Notes

Sodium silicate (SS) is a sticky, viscous liquid. It is produced by dissolving silica gel in sodium hydroxide (there a many videos on Youtube how to do this).

Sodium silicate is the most popular deflocculant used in casting slips for many years (as a source of sodium ions). It is nearly always used with soda ash (when employed alone it can make a slip 'stringy' and thixotropic). The material is effective, reliable and inexpensive. However, it attacks the plaster in molds much more than more modern deflocculants and it is easier to over-deflocculate a slip with sodium silicate.

There are potassium based deflocculants that are similar to the corresponding sodium ones. They can be employed where the presence of sodium is undesirable. Soda ash is more suitable for deflocculating glazes. In addition, a wide range of organic deflocculants are available as alkali salts of pyrogallic, humic or tannic acids. They have long working ranges and can increase the apparent plasticity of the clay. As noted, their use prolongs mold life compared with sodium silicate and soda ash and they are less prone of over-deflocculation. Tetramethylammoniumhydroxide is also an organic compound that is used where residues from inorganic salts cannot be tolerated. It is a strong base that can even attack glass and quartz.

Because sodium silicate is sticky and dries hard, it can be used as a glue to bind ceramic particles together, even aggregates. On firing it forms a ceramic bond. Mixtures of sodium silicate and perlite, for example, can be rammed into molds to form shapes that dry with zero shrinkage and have excellent insulating properties. It can be incorporating into bodies to improve their dry strength. As the main ingredient in Magic Water, it can bind leather-hard clay section better than the clay slurry (slip) alone.

Related Information

Links

Articles Understanding the Deflocculation Process in Slip Casting
Understanding the magic of deflocculation and how to measure specific gravity and viscosity, and how to interpret the results of these tests to adjust the slip, these are the key to controlling a casting process.
Articles Understanding the Terra Cotta Slip Casting Recipes In North America
This article helps you understand a good recipe for a red casting body so that you will have control and adjustability.
Articles Binders for Ceramic Bodies
An overview of the major types of organic and inorganic binders used in various different ceramic industries.
Materials Sodium Carbonate
Materials Perlite
Materials Darvan
Materials Acumer Dispersant Polymer
URLs https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodium_silicate
Sodium silicate on wikipedia
Typecodes Body Glaze binders, additives
Typecodes Generic Material
Generic materials are those with no brand name. Normally they are theoretical, the chemistry portrays what a specimen would be if it had no contamination. Generic materials are helpful in educational situations where students need to study material theory (later they graduate to dealing with real world materials). They are also helpful where the chemistry of an actual material is not known. Often the accuracy of calculations is sufficient using generic materials.
Typecodes Electrolyte
Materials used to control slurry properties of glazes and slips (vicosity, specific gravity).
Hazards Sodium Silicate Powder Toxicology

Data

Frit Softening Point1080C M
Density (Specific Gravity)2.40

By Tony Hansen


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