|Monthly Tech-Tip |
Feldspar and talc are both flux sources (glaze melters). But the fluxes (Na2O and MgO) within these materials need the right mix of other oxides with which to interact to vitrify or melt a mix. The feldspar does source other oxides for the Na2O to interact with, but lacks other fluxes and the proportions are not right, it is only beginning to soften at cone 6. The soda frit is already very active at cone 06! As high as cone 6, talc (the best source of MgO) shows no signs of melting activity at all. But a high MgO frit is melting beautifully at cone 06. While the frits are melting primarily because of the boron content, the Na2O and MgO have become active participants in the melting of a low temperature glass. In addition, the oxides exist in a glass matrix that is much easier to melt than the crystal matrix of the raw materials.
Frits are used in ceramic glazes for a wide range of reasons. They are man-made materials of controlled chemistry with many advantages or raw materials.
Fluxes are the reason we can fire clay bodies and glazes in common kilns, they make glazes melt and bodies vitrify at lower temperatures.
In ceramic glazes each oxide generally makes a specific contributions to the melting and freezing behavior of the glaze. However interactions are also important.
The melting temperature of ceramic glazes is a product of many complex factors. The manner of melting can be a slow softening or a sudden liquifying.
Feldspar is a natural mineral that, by itself, is the most similar to a high temperature stoneware glaze. Thus it is common to see alot of it in glaze recipes. Actually, too much.
|Oxides||B2O3 - Boric Oxide|
|Oxides||Na2O - Sodium Oxide, Soda|
|Oxides||MgO - Magnesium Oxide, Magnesia|
|Materials||Ferro Frit 3110|