Physical Properties in Traditional Ceramics

Body Color | Body Maturity | Body Plasticity | Body Thermal Expansion | Crystal Glaze Variations | Deflocculant | Glaze Color | Glaze Crystallization | Glaze Matteness | Glaze Opacifier | Glaze Surface Texture | Glaze Suspender | Glaze Variegation


A property in this context is a created physical phenomenon in a glaze or body that can be achieved in a variety of ways (called mechanisms). For example, there are a number of ways to suspend a glaze slurry, a number of mechanisms of glaze opacify or body plasticity, a number of ways to achieve a specific glaze color, etc. Whether a mechanism is physical or chemical, we need to understand all the options to choose a suitable one for a specific application.

Consider an example: If we define 'glaze color' as a property, then we can attach a 'glaze color mechanism' to the oxide chrome, specify 'pink' as the detail and explain how the mechanism works. Likewise, to alumina oxide we can attach a glaze color property noting that with chrome, manganese, and cobalt it can achieve pink colors. Now if we search for the specific instance of pink in the glaze color property in this area we will find these two mechanisms listed. You will not fully appreciate the potential of this until you really need to produce a specific effect and this area makes you aware of a way to do it that you never considered or even thought existed.

Another example is opacification, most people are not aware of how many ways there are to opacify glazes. This area makes it easy to browse all the mechanisms, evaluate the tradeoffs and select the best one (or combination).


Glossary Matte Glaze
Random material mixes that melt well overwhelmingly want to be glossy, creating a matte glaze that is also functional is not an easy task.
Glossary Vitrification
The term vitrified refers to the fired state of a piece of porcelain or stoneware. Vitrified ware has been fired high enough to make it very strong, hard and dense.
Glossary Opacifier
Glaze opacity refers to the degree to which it is opaque. There is more than meets to eye to the subject of opacity control.
Glossary Plasticity
Plasticity (in ceramics) is a property exhibited by soft clay. Force exerted effects a change in shape and the clay exhibits no tendency to return to the old shape. Elasticity is the opposite.
Glossary Rheology
In ceramics, this term refers to the flow and gel properties of a glaze or body suspension (made from water and mineral powders, with possible additives, deflocculants, modifiers).
Glossary 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.
Glossary Deflocculation
The deflocculation process is the magic behind the ceramic casting process. It enables you to make a slurry of far lower water content and thus lower shrinkage.
Articles Understanding Ceramic Oxides
Fired glazes are composed of oxide building blocks. Each of the oxides contributes different properties to the fired glaze and interacts with others in different ways. Understanding these gives you control.

By Tony Hansen

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