These 1 mm-sized crystals were found precipitated in a couple of gallons of glaze containing 85% Ferro Frit 3195. They are cubical, hard and insoluble. Why and how to do they form? Many frits are slightly soluble, the degree to which they are is related to the length of time the glaze is in storage, the temperature, the electrolytes and solubles in the water, interactions with other material particles present and the diligence of the manufacturer in mixing, correctly achieving the target chemistry and firing. The solutes interact or saturate to form insoluble species that crystallize and precipitate out as you see here. These crystals can be a wide range of shapes and sizes and come from leaded and unleaded frits. In industry this issue is not generally a problem because glazes are used soon after being made.
These flakes have been screened from a highly-fritted boron glaze mixed using hard water and stored for a year. They formed as a film across the top of the settled surface and on the walls of the bucket. Frits are stoichiometric, they should not dissollve, but they do. Perhaps this is evidence that frit makers are unable to precisely control production parameters.
These crystals were found in a months-old bucket (about 2 gallons). These can appear even quicker, depending on factors like temperature, electrolytes in your water or solubility in the materials (evens frits can be slightly soluble). The glaze slurry should be screened periodically (or immediately if you note the particles when glazing a piece). This is an 80 mesh sieve. Note the brush, using one of these gets the glaze through the screen much quicker than using a rubber spatula. The loss of material on the screen is tiny and inconsequential to the glaze. But it is crucial because these particles do not melt at cone 6, they will certainly mar the fired glaze surface if undetected.
Ooids in Glazes
Crystals or crystalline particles will often form over time in ceramic glaze slurries that contain slightly soluble materials.
Frits are used in ceramic glazes for a wide range of reasons. They are man-made glass powders of controlled chemistry with many advantages over raw materials.
Ferro Frit 3195