|Monthly Tech-Tip |
The side of this white porcelain test mug is glazed with varying thicknesses of VC71 (a popular silky matte), then fired to cone 6. Out of the kiln, there was no crazing, and it felt silky and wonderful. But a 300F/icewater IWCT test was done and then it was felt-pen marked and cleaned with acetone. This is what happened! This level of crazing is bad, the dense pattern indicates a very poor fit. Then why was it not crazed coming out of the kiln? The glaze is apparently elastic enough to handle the gradual cooling in the kiln. But what the kiln did not do, time certainly will. This recipe has 40% feldspar (a big high-expansion KNaO contributor), that much in a cone 6 glaze it a red flag to crazing. Coupled with that was low Al2O3 and SiO2, another tip-off.
The top glaze is VC71, a popular matte cone 6 glaze used by potters. Bottom is G2934 matte, a public domain recipe produced by Plainsman Clays. The latter is a high-MgO matte, it melts well and does not cutlery mark or stain easily. As evidence that it is a true matte, notice that it is still matte when fired to cone 7 or 8. VC71, while having a similar pleasant silky matte surface at cone 6, converts to a glossy if fired higher. This suggests that the cone 6 matteness is due to incomplete melting. For the same reason, it is whiter in color (as soon as it begins to melt and have depth the color darkens).
Understanding Thermal Expansion in Ceramic Glazes
Understanding thermal expansion is the key to dealing with crazing or shivering. There is a rich mans and poor mans way to fit glazes, the latter might be better.
Crazed ceramic glazes have a network of cracks. Understanding the causes is the most practical way to solve it. 95% of the time the solution is to adjust the thermal expansion of the glaze.
Co-efficient of Thermal Expansion
Ceramics are brittle and many types will crack if subjected to sudden heating or cooling. Some do not. Why? Differences in their co-efficients of thermal expansion.
300F:Ice Water Crazing Test
Ceramic glazes that do not fit the body often do not craze until later. This progressively stresses the fit until failure point, thus giving it a score