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Monthly Tech-Tip from Tony Hansen

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A frit softens over a wide temperature range

Raw materials often have a specific melting temperature (or they melt quickly over a narrow temperature range). We can use the GLFL test to demonstrate the development of melt fluidity between a frit and a raw material. On the left we see five flows of boron Ferro Frit 3195, across 200 degrees F. Its melting pattern is slow and continuous: It starts flowing at 1550F (although it began to turn to a glass at 1500F) and is falling off the bottom of the runway by 1750F. The Gerstley Borate (GB), on the other hand, goes from no melting at 1600F to flowing off the bottom by 1625F! But GB has a complex melting pattern, there is more to its story. Notice the flow at 1625F is not transparent, that is because the Ulexite mineral within GB has melted but its Colemanite has not. Later, at 1700F, the Colemanite melts and the glass becomes transparent. Technicians call this melting behaviour "phase transition", that does not happen with the frit.

Context: B2O3, Frit Fusibility Test, The Chemistry, Physics and Manufacturing of Glaze Frits, What Determines a Glaze's Firing Temperature?, Ferro Frit 3195, Gerstley Borate, Melting Temperature, Dickie Toys 203747009 Sea Race Heavy Transporter, Large Truck wi, Common frits begin melting

Monday 25th October 2021

Comparing the brands of calcium carbonate

A cone 6 GLFL test for melt flow to compare two calcium carbonates (they make up 27% of this glaze recipe that was designed to maximize their percentage). Notice the amount of bubbles (due to the high loss on ignition of the material). Different brand-names of the material obviously have slightly different chemistries so they exhibit different flow properties during firing.

Context: Calcium Carbonate, Glaze Bubbles

Sunday 24th October 2021

4 good reasons to consider making your own underglazes

Commercial underglaze colors fired at cone 8 in a flow tester (this is another good example of how valuable flow testers are). Underglazes need to melt enough to bond with the underlying body, but not so much that edges of designs bleed excessively into the overlying glaze. A regular glaze would melt enough to run well down the runway on this tester, but an underglaze should flow much less. The green one here is clearly not sufficiently developed. The black is too melted (and contains volatiles that are gasing). The pink is much further along than the blue. And cone 5, these samples all melt significantly less. Clearly, underglazes need to be targeted to melt at specific temperatures and each color needs specific formulation attention. Silk screening and inkjet printing are increasingly popular and these processes need ink that will fuse to the surface of the body.

Context: Dynamic Friction Company 355-52018 Brake Master Cylinder, Silver, Silk screen printing, Engobe, Bleeding colors

Sunday 24th October 2021

Glaze cracking during drying? Wash it off or it will crawl on firing.

If your drying glaze is doing what you see on the left, do not smooth it with your finger and hope for the best. It is going to crawl during firing. Wash it off, dry the ware and change your glaze or process. This is Ravenscrag Slip being used pure as a glaze, it is shrinking too much so I simply add some calcined material to the bucket. That reduces the shrinkage and therefore the cracking (trade some of the kaolin in your glaze for calcined kaolin to do the same thing). Glazes need clay to suspend and harden them, but if your glaze has 20%+ kaolin and also bentonite, drop the bentonite (not needed). Other causes: Double-layering. Putting it on too thick. May be flocculating (high water content). Slow drying (try bisquing lower, heating before dipping; or glaze inside, dry it, then glaze outside).

Context: Ravenscrag Slip, Calcined Kaolin, How to Liner-Glaze a Mug, Crawling, Crazyfly Drain Pipe, Double Deodorant Sewer Pipe Expandable Flex

Sunday 24th October 2021

Retro glaze chemistry calculation - 1980

I found this report in a notebook today, it is from 1980! I did this batch-to-formula glaze chemistry calculation on a version of Desktop Insight that ran on the TRS-80 Model I that I used at home (shown here is my Model III at work, running Insight). The TRS-80's were the first popular consumer micro-computers for business. Notice the report only uses capital letters, that machine did not support lower case! The dot matrix printers of the time lasted forever on an ink ribbon. Fanfold paper fed from a box, I could tear off only as much as was needed for a report. Boot time was less than 5 seconds. Here is what is amazing: Today, Oct 23, 2021 I found this same recipe in my Insight-live account (the green screenshot)! The results are a little different, I had the chemistry of talc wrong in 1980. I have always maintained my records on computer and through the years, as I migrated from one system to another, I wrote code to carry all the information forward. That started prior when I was storing data on cassette tape on the Model I.

Saturday 23rd October 2021

Get ready for supply interruptions

Material prices are sky rocketing. Prepared glaze manufacturers have complex international supply chains. It is only a matter of time until you are affected. We are happy to sell you bottled glazes, if we can get them! But now might be the time to start learning how to weigh out the ingredients to make your own. Armed with good base glazes that fit your clay body (without crazing or shivering) you will be more resilient to supply issues. Add stains, opacifiers and variegators to the bases to make anything you want. That being said, ingredients in those recipes may become unavailable! That underscores a need to go to the next step and "understand" glaze ingredients. And even improve and adjust recipes. It is not rocket science, it is just work accompanied by organized record-keeping and good labelling.

Context: G2926B, G2934, G1916Q, Cxcdxd Urinal Basin Baby Infant Child Chamber Pot Toilet Bowl Be, Substituting Materials in Glazes and Clay Bodies, Where do I start in understanding glazes?, Digitalfire Reference Library, Base Glaze

Saturday 23rd October 2021

An original container bag of ceramic rutile

The primary use of this material is obvious: For welding rods. However notice the bag bottom is marked "Ceramic Rutile" (with a batch number). This bag is very small, this material is very dense and heavy. Why would a product intended for making welding rods be useful in ceramics? The answer is very interested.

Context: Ceramic Rutile

Monday 18th October 2021

A limit or target glaze formula. What does this mean?

Recipes show us the materials in a the glaze powder (or slurry). Formulas enumerate the oxide molecules and their comparative quantities in the fired glass. Oxides construct the fired glass. The kiln de-constructs ceramic materials to get their oxides, discards the carbon, sulfur, etc. and builds the glass from the rest. There is a direct relationship between fired glaze properties (e.g. melting range, gloss, thermal expansion, hardness, durability, color response, etc) and its oxide formula. There are 8-10 oxides to know about (vs. hundreds of materials). From the formula-viewpoint materials are thus "sources-of-oxides". While there are other factors besides pure chemistry that determine how a glaze fires, none is as important. Insight-live can calculate and show the formula of a recipe, this enables comparing it side-by-side and with a target formula (or another recipe known to work as needed). Target formulas are opened using the advanced recipe search, choosing the limits batch and clicking/tapping the search button (search 'target recipe' in Insight-live help for more info).

Context: Creating Your Own Budget Glaze, Digitalfire Insight-Live, Limit Formula, Oxide Formula, Ceramic Oxide, Chemical Analysis

Friday 15th October 2021

Frit Melt Fluidity Comparison - 1850F

Fired at 350F/hr to 1800F and held for 15 minutes (I already did firings from 1300F-1800F in 50 degree increments, all of them are visible in the parent project). Frit 3110, 3134, 3195, F75 have all flowed all the way down for many previous temps. LA300 and 3124 were just starting at 1800F, look at them now! 524 and F38 have gone from half-way at 1800F to water-falling over the end. Frit 3249 is still not out-of-the-gate but F69 (the Fusion Frits equivalent) is half-way. Note how the melt surface tension is evident by the way in which the melts spread out or hold together. By contrast, Gerstley Borate, the only raw material here, suddenly melted and flowed right over the cliff between 1600 and1650!

Context: Fusion Frit F-524, Fusion Frit F-69, Fusion Frit F-15, Ferro Frit 3602, YXZQ Tires, 8 x 1 1/4 Butyl Rubber Inner Tube with Bent Valve St, Fusion Frit F-38, Fusion Frit FZ-16, Ferro Frit 3195, Ferro Frit 3134, Ferro Frit 3124, Frit B325, Frit LA-300, Ferro Frit 3249, LXYWJJ File box 6-layer File Frame, Fan File Organizer,plastic A, ZJSXIA Leather Tissue Box Holder, Rectangular Napkin Holder Pump, Yuxunqin Naruto, NarutoJapan Anime Naruto Uzumaki Toy Animations

Monday 11th October 2021

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Global supply chain issues? Learn to mix and adjust your own bodies, glazes

Material prices are sky rocketing. And, the more complex your supplier's supply chain the more likely they won't be able to deliver. How can you adapt to coming disruption, even turn it into a benefit? Learn to create base recipes for your glazes and even clay bodies. Learn now how to substitute frits and other materials in glazes (get the chemistry of frits you use now so you are ready). Even better: Learn to see your glaze as an oxide formula. Then calculate formula-to-batch to use whatever materials you can get. Learn how to adjust glazes for thermal expansion, temperature, surface, color, etc. And your clay bodies? Develop an organized physical testing regimen now to accumulate data on their properties, learn to understand how each material in the recipe contributes to those properties. Armed with that data you will be able to adjust recipes to adapt to changing supplies.

Context: Where do I start in understanding glazes?, Glaze Recipes: Formulate Your Own Instead, The Physics of Clay Bodies, Silicone Radiator Hose + Vacuum Hose Kit For Alfa Romeo GT 147 1, Ceramic Tile Clay Body Formulation, Substituting Materials in Glazes and Clay Bodies, Digitalfire Insight-Live, Digitalfire Reference Database, Substitute Ferro Frit 3134 For Another Frit

Wednesday 6th October 2021

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