|Monthly Tech-Tip |
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 done in the same kiln). The glaze has a fluid melt (it runs) and its percentage of iron is high enough that it could precipitate out from solution in the melt (given the time). Susceptible glazes have a temperature at which crystals form the best and that temperature can be hundreds of degrees down from the firing cone (or higher if precipitation is occurring). In industry, devitrification is regarded as a defect. But potters call it crystallization. Understanding (especially the chemistry and materials) and experimental firings are needed to learn to control and exploit the effect in a glaze.
Ceramic glazes form crystals on cooling if the chemistry is right and the rate of cool is slow enough to permit molecular movement to the preferred orientation.
Glaze chemistry is the study of how the oxide chemistry of glazes relates to the way they fire. It accounts for color, surface, hardness, texturem, melting temperature, thermal expansion, etc.
Ceramic glazes melt and flow according to their chemistry and mineralogy. Observing and measuring the nature and amount of flow is important in understanding them.
|Oxides||B2O3 - Boric Oxide|
|Oxides||Fe2O3 - Iron Oxide, Ferric Oxide|