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Crystalline Glaze tests

Tim Carlson August 3, 2011


Conventions in these notes: Here, as in all my notes, the units used are by weight unless specied otherwise (e.g. 1tsp Sodium Silicate). Some may complain that the recipes included are in parts by weight which have not been normalized. A problem I nd is that in practice, all one needs to reproduce a specic glaze is the correct proportion of parts and the same kiln and ring schedule. Ha! Well, at least the correct proportions and a close approximation to the same ring schedule are achievable. Another problem I have is: what normalization do I use? Normalization to 100% overall by weight? Or normalization of the halides to a molecular proportion of 1?1 For all the glazes listed in my notes, we red to cone 10 (10) in reduction using a Bailey Downdraft 10ft3 kiln, though to be honest, the ring is more of a soft 11.2 The schedule which we red is approximately given by: neutral up to a Shino/body reduction, re strong reduction through to 9, tapering the reduction to neutral at 10 with a neutral soak for 20 minutes. The humidity we re in is fairly low, and is mentioned here since it has a lesser eect on the reduction environment in the kiln (I apologize that the actual humidity %, nor the barometric pressure are recorded here for reproduction eorts).
Some day, when I feel the urge to do a more complete analysis, I will provide a molecular proportion analysis as an appendix; currently, I am much more focused on the reproduction of colors and textures which requires the simplicity of testing, testing, testing. 2 I would list peak temperature, but the major factor in maturity of the clay body as well as the glaze is the amount of heat energy which is applied to the materials inside the kiln; here is the main reason for using pyrometric cones. The cones are a simple, reasonably accurate measure of the heat energy which has been supplied to the materials in the kiln.
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Crystalline Glaze tests

Just simply a matter of curiosity, I attempted to use macrocrystalline glazes in a standard cone 10 reduction ring schedule. Mostly, since the kiln we were using was a really new Bailey downdraft kiln with a really slow cool down time, I was curious about macrocrystalline growth. I expected that there would be some problems with the reduction environment and the zinc since I read that zinc volatilizes in a reduction environment. The base glaze was one taken from some macrocrystalline book on the shelf of the library in the studio. It was relatively simple, hence, appealing. For all these tests, Coleman porcelain was used as the clay body. The base glaze used is: Crystal Base Frit 3110 Silica Zinc Oxide Titanium Dioxide

55 10 35 5

Heres a nice yellowish clear which does not go opaque when thick. Notice the iron staining from the tools. Crazes badly.

1. 2% Fe2 O3

Crystal Base Iron Oxide

100 2

A beautiful glassy brown which is fairly yellow-clear when on a vertical surface, only showing the brown on horizontal surfaces. No apparent macrocrystals.

2. 10% Fe2 O3

Crystal Base 100 Iron Oxide 10 Dark brown surface marred from bubbles. What happens on a vertical surface?

3. 2% Nickel Carbonate

Crystal Base Nickel Carbonate

100 2

Yellow to green with silver crystals. Pitted from zinc oxide volatilizing.

4. 2% Copper Carbonate

Crystal Base 100 Copper Carbonate 2 Pale green with nice green crystals inside. How does it appear on a vertical surface?

5. 10% Manganese Carbonate

Crystal Base 100 Manganese Carbonate 2 Pleasant brown with smoky surface. How does it appear on a vertical surface?

Open Questions?

Observations of the base glaze suggested to me that a good clear glaze could be formulated using frit 3110. 1. Could a good stable clear with a reasonably good t be developed from frit 3110? Specically, the Coecient of Expansion (COE) for frit 3110 is about 10 106 (linearly at room temperatures), while the COE for porcelain ceramics is about 5 106 and stonewares should be reasonably close to this value. So, with the addition of low expansion glaze components, a simple, sti, clear glaze with a good t might be able to be found. Ideally, a line blend of silica and frit 3110 might be just the right combination to produce the glaze I want. Other suggestions might be to add low expansion elements i.e. lithium in the form of a carbonate or spodumene; magnesium in the form of carbonate or dolomite; boron in the soluble form of borax; or some combination of the above.3
On observation of the low melting point of frit 3110 and the clarity of the solidied melt, an idea for a clear raku glaze was developed. The recipe is: Clear Crackle Raku Frit 3110 55 This glaze produces a really nice clear, with a ne Borax 15 crackle pattern. Silica 15 Lithium Carbonate 15
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