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Ceramic and porcelain manufacture processposition:News>Industry news

Ceramic and porcelain manufacture process

  • Classification:Industry news
  • Source:ehomeceramics enterprise
  • time:2015-01-27

The term porcelain refers to a wide range of ceramic products that have been baked at high temperatures to achieve vitreous, or glassy, qualities such as translucence and low porosity. Among the most familiar porcelain goods are table and decorative china, chemical ware, dental crowns, and electrical insulators. Usually white or off-white, porcelain comes in both glazed and unglazed varieties, with bisque, fired at a high temperature, representing the most popular unglazed variety.

Raw Materials

The primary components of porcelain are clays, feldspar or flint, and silica, all characterized by small particle size. To create different types of porcelain, craftspeople combine these raw materials in varying proportions until they obtain the desired green (unfired) and fired properties.

Although the composition of clay varies depending upon where it is extracted and how it

To make porcelain, the raw materials—such as clay, felspar, and silica—are first crushed using jaw crushers, hammer mills, and ball mills. After cleaning to remove improperly sized materials, the mixture is subjected to one of four forming processes—soft plastic forming, stiff plastic forming, pressing, or casting—depending on the type of ware being produced. The ware then undergoes a preliminary firing step, bisque-firing.
Feldspar, a mineral comprising mostly aluminum silicate, and flint, a type of hard quartz, function as fluxes in the porcelain body or mixture. Fluxes reduce the temperature at which liquid glass forms during firing to between 1,835 and 2,375 degrees Fahrenheit (1,000 and 1,300 degrees Celsius). This liquid phase binds the grains of the body together.

The Manufacturing
Process

After the raw materials are selected and the desired amounts weighed, they go through a series of preparation steps. First, they are crushed and purified. Next, they are mixed together before being subjected to one of four forming processes—soft plastic forming, stiff plastic forming, pressing, or casting; the choice depends upon the type of ware being produced. After the porcelain has been formed, it is subjected to a final purification process, bisque-firing, before being glazed. Glaze is a layer of decorative glass applied to and fired onto a ceramic body. The final manufacturing phase is firing, a heating step that takes place in a type of oven called a kiln.

Crushing the raw materials

1 First, the raw material particles are reduced to the desired size, which involves using a variety of equipment during several crushing and grinding steps. Primary crushing is done in jaw crushers which use swinging metal jaws. Secondary crushing reduces particles to 0.1 inch (.25 centimeter) or less in diameter by using mullers (steel-tired wheels) or hammer mills, rapidly moving steel hammers. For fine grinding, craftspeople use ball mills that consist of large rotating cylinders partially filled with steel or ceramic grinding media of spherical shape.
Cleaning and mixing

2 The ingredients are passed through a series of screens to remove any under- or over-sized materials. Screens, usually operated in a sloped position, are vibrated mechanically or electromechanically to improve flow. If the body is to be formed wet, the ingredients are then combined with water to produce the desired consistency. Magnetic filtration is then used to remove iron from the slurries, as these watery mixtures of insoluble material are called. Because iron occurs so pervasively in most clays and will impart
After bisque firing, the porcelain wares are put through a glazing operation, which applies the proper coating. The glaze can be applied by painting, dipping, pouring, or spraying. Finally, the ware undergoes a firing step in an oven or kiln. After cooling, the porcelain ware is complete.
After bisque firing, the porcelain wares are put through a glazing operation, which applies the proper coating. The glaze can be applied by painting, dipping, pouring, or spraying. Finally, the ware undergoes a firing step in an oven or kiln. After cooling, the porcelain ware is complete.
an undesirable reddish hue to the body if it oxidizes, removing it prior to firing is essential. If the body is to be formed dry, shell mixers, ribbon mixers, or intensive mixers are typically used.
Forming the body

3 Next, the body of the porcelain is formed. This can be done using one of four methods, depending on the type of ware being produced:soft plastic forming, where the clay is shaped by manual molding, wheel throwing, jiggering, or ram pressing.

4 After being formed, the porcelain parts are generally bisque-fired, which entails heating them at a relatively low temperature to vaporize volatile contaminants and minimize shrinkage during firing.
Glazing

5 After the raw materials for the glaze have been ground they are mixed with water. Like the body slurry, the glaze slurry is screened and passed through magnetic filters to remove contaminants. It is then applied to the ware by means of painting, pouring, dipping, or spraying. Different types of glazes can be produced by varying the proportions of the constituent ingredients, such as alumina, silica, and calcia. For example, increasing the alumina and decreasing the silica produces a matte glaze.
Firing

6 Firing is a further heating step that can be done in one of two types of oven, or kiln. A periodic kiln consists of a single, refractory-lined, sealed chamber with burner ports and flues (or electric heating elements). It can fire only one batch of ware at a time, but it is more flexible since the firing cycle can be adjusted for each product. A tunnel kiln is a refractory chamber several hundred feet or more in length. It maintains certain temperature zones continuously, with the ware being pushed from one zone to another. Typically, the ware will enter a preheating zone and move through a central firing zone before leaving the kiln via a cooling zone. This type of kiln is usually more economical and energy efficient than a periodic kiln.
7 During the firing process, a variety of reactions take place. First, carbon-based impurities burn out, chemical water evolves (at 215 to 395 degrees Fahrenheit or 100 to 200 degrees Celsius), and carbonates and sulfates begin to decompose (at 755 to 1,295 degrees Fahrenheit or 400 to 700 degrees Celsius). Gases are produced that must escape from the ware. On further heating, some of the minerals break down into other phases, and the fluxes present (feldspar and flint) react with the decomposing minerals to form liquid glasses (at 1,295 to 2,015 degrees Fahrenheit or 700 to 1,100 degrees Celsius). These glass phases are necessary for shrinking and bonding the grains. After the desired density is achieved (greater than 2,195 degrees Fahrenheit or 1,200 degrees Celsius), the ware is cooled, which causes the liquid glass to solidify, thereby forming a strong bond between the remaining crystalline grains. After cooling, the porcelain is complete.
Quality Control

The character of the raw materials is important in maintaining quality during the manufacturing process. The chemical composition, mineral phase, particle size distribution, and colloidal surface area affect the fired and unfired properties of the porcelain. With unfired body, the properties evaluated include viscosity, plasticity, shrinkage, and strength. With fired porcelain, strength, porosity, color, and thermal expansion are measured. Many of these properties are monitored and controlled during manufacturing using statistical methods. Both the raw materials and the process parameters (milling time and forming pressure, for example) can be adjusted to achieve desired quality.

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