Fast firing is almost universal in most sectors of the ceramic industry now. Companies hire experts to design kilns and firing procedures to successfully handle the type of ware they manufacture. Small potteries, university ceramics programs, potters and hobby potters have periodic kilns and generally do not fast fire. This enables them to use clays and glazes and make ware that would not be practical in fast fire kilns. The results that a specific glaze gives are a combination of the recipe, the underlying clay and the firing schedule (which implicitly embodies control of the kiln atmosphere). This area of the Digitalfire Reference database is intended to capture the firing part of the puzzle. In theory, no glaze should be separated from its firing schedule, especially if it is reactive and special-purpose in a way that depends on the firing history. If you have an account at Insight-live.com, you can define firing schedules in greater detail than shown here and you can link recipes to schedules.
The format for the data in this area matches the way a typical electronic controller for an electric is programmed (although at Insight-live.com you can also create period-schedules, as opposed to rate-schedules, for gas kilns).
Ceramic Glazes Today
Todd Barson of Ferro Corp. overviews the glaze formulations being using in various ceramics industry sectors. He discusses fast fire, glaze materials, development and trouble shooting.
Dunting and Cracking of Clay Bodies During Firing
Ceramic industry can fire much faster and deal with much heavier objects than potters can, how do they do it. The answer is they pay more attention to the basics, it is all common sense and good equipment.
Designing a good kiln firing schedule for your ware is a very important, and often overlooked factor for obtained successful firings.
In ceramic kilns the firing schedule is typically managed automatically by an electronic controller. But that may not mean that ware gets automatically fired to the correct temperature and atmosphere.
|By Tony Hansen
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