Zero3 porcelain, Ulexite and Fritted glazes, firing schedule

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The columns on this page detail the Zero3 project goals, the body recipe and the two glazes (same chemistry but using frits or ulexite) and the firing schedule.


Project Name

Zero3 Porcelain, glaze, firing schedule

Notes

This project is a system: A body, glaze and firing schedule, made for each other. The porcelain is fritted, translucent, super-white and fires durable. It rivals or exceeds what is possible at middle and high temperatures. The secret is two of the materials:

-The frit. It is a far more potent flux that feldspar, dropping the maturing temperature ten cones.
-The VeeGum. A super plasticizer, producing the most plastic body you have ever thrown.

These two materials triple the price. But the result is magic.

You may have seen other fritware recipes but they are not like this. Many use high-boron frits (not a good choice). Frit 3110 is better, it is a body flux, performing like feldspar. Glazes recommended for other fritwares often craze badly. This one does not. Why? They use high expansion frits while this one employs the needed frits to supply the needed oxide chemistry. And this body/glaze combination is capable of fast fire, 3 hours cold-to-cold. And the other fritware bodies are not documented like this one.

The Zero3 ultra-clear glaze fits (it does not craze) and transmits underglaze colors in full glory, much better than higher temperature porcelains. Glazing is easy: quick dip and fast drying. Firing is low cost and brings dramatic reductions in kiln wear-and-tear. Even people having kilns incapable of cone 6 (either by design or because of element wear) can now make porcelain of higher quality than they even dreamed was possible. And fast-fire is feasible. Imagine firing three times a day!

I developed this body at Plainsman Clays but they are not manufacturing it yet. If it is made it will be $100 a box. But this is about making the impossible possible. And it saves money in every other part of the process.

Zero3 Porcelain - Experimental

Code #

L3924C

Location

BOX48

Materials Amt Units
New Zealand Kaolin 227.000 KG 48.54%
Ferro Frit 3110 300.000 LB 29.10%
Silica 200.000 LB 19.40%
VeeGum T 30.000 LB 2.91%
*Mason 6336 Blue Stain 250.000 GM 0.05%

Total:467,658.00 (R)

Notes

This body is not available for sale. Yet. I am beta-testing it. I have done a long series of test mixes in search of a blend of North American materials that will produce a fritted white low-fire oxidation porcelain. But I was not able to do so. The difficulty is that the glassy phase of the frit amplifies the color of any iron available in the body (even tiny amounts) to produce a bone or ivory white.

The only solution was a switch to New Zealand Kaolin (which contains only 0.15% iron) and VeeGum. The result is dramatically better. However a pinkish color still remained. This made it necessary to add a small amount of blue stain. Now it has the color of cone 10 reduction porcelain!

This body pairs with G2931K clear glaze (the fully fritted version of G2931F) and a drop-and-soak firing glaze schedule. Look for a links to that here or google it.

The secrets of this body are thus:
-The 30% frit: Frit is expensive (no normal porcelains contain it because of this). But it makes the impossible possible!
-The NZ Kaolin: The whitest available in the world.
-The VeeGum: The most plastic super-white clay in the world. If you do not have it Bentone (Macaloid) works also.
-The silica for glaze fit and as a structural framework.

As noted, this body will be among the most plastic you have even used (of any kind). But this is only true if it is stiff enough. If you try to use it soft the shrinkage will be much higher and you risk drying cracks.

One caveat: This is not an attempt to rival the fired surface of cone 6 Plainsman Polar Ice, it is not as smooth and dense (but it is almost zero porosity). You could, of course, fire higher to produce higher density. But remember, this is frit-ware, warping issues will creep in quickly as temperature is increased. Firing higher than cone 03 will not necessarily produce more strength either. It will produce more fired shrinkage (which is already quite high).

If we were to manufacture this is could cost $100 a box. But before dismissing this think about the advantages of using it for making smaller pieces:
-Fast firing: two or three times a day (as little as 3 hours start to kiln opening).
-The appearance of cone 10R but with far brighter colors.
-High strength (rivaling any other temperature).
-Throw ware ultra thin and light.
-A perfectly fitted ultra-clear glaze that is far cheaper to make than commercial glazes (and works better).
-Dramatic reduction in wear-and-tear on kiln elements and energy usage.
-Remember to factor in the fact that you will be able to charge more for pieces when you calculate clay-cost-per-piece.

A final note: Because this body matures at such a low temperature it needs to be bisqued much lower. You will need to experiment. Consider starting at around 1500F. If ware is not absorbent enough fire lower.

Units-of-measure: I have specified 50 lb bags to fill the needed amount for the NZ kaolin, however it comes in 20kg bags. But you are likely mixing in grams or ounces so just refer to the percentage column.

One more thing. Consider getting an account at insight-live.com, copy and paste the recipes and document all your testing well. And you will get monthly email updates on this another projects.

Batch Ticket Notes

Notes for this ticket.

Pictures

L3924B Frit-ware porcelain mug with G2931K glaze

The only difference between this and L3924C is the amount of blue stain. This has 0.07% and C has 0.05%.

Fired at 03 with G2931K glaze (it is the all-frit version of G2931F). The result is stunning! Fired strength is incredible. It can withstand immersion into icewater from 300F. Glaze is absolutely crystal clear, underglaze is the clearest and brightest I have ever seen! Very pleasant reduction-like blue white color.

Zero3 Porcelain translucency

Zero3 Porcelain as engobe Zero3 Terracotta does not work

3924C on 3724N - cracking badly because the fired shrinkage is 10% vs body of 6%.

L3924B cone 03 porcelain (right) vs. cone 10R body

The mug on the left is a Grolleg Porcelain, fired to cone 10 with G1947U glaze. This body (right) appears greyer on the photo that it actually is. The glaze is G2931F. Admittedly, the Grolleg does has an ice-blue shade that is more pleasant.

G2931K glazed Zero3 Porcelain Mugs

Testdata

SHAB - Shrinkage/Absorption

DLEN FLEN FWT BWT CONE DSHR FSHR ABS
1 94.84 5.2%
2 94.84 83.81 37.08 -4.0 5.2% 11.6%
3 93.58 83.6 34.21 34.24 -3.0 6.4% 10.7% 0.1%
4 93.46 83.32 32.29 32.33 -2.2 6.5% 10.8% 0.1%

Born: 2014-09-19, Modified: 2017-06-14 15:49:20

Zero3 Ulexite Transparent Glaze

For use with the Zero3 body and engobe

Code #

G2931F

Materials Amt
EPK 27.000
Silica 7.000
Ulexite 29.000
Ferro Frit 3249 9.000
Wollastonite 9.000
Ferro Frit 3110 19.000

Total:100.00

Unity Formula

CaO 0.60
MgO 0.10
K2O 0.02
Na2O 0.28
(KNaO) 0.30
B2O3 0.76
Al2O3 0.40
SiO2 2.33

Si:Al Ratio

5.8:1

SiB:Al Ratio

7.7:1

Calculated
Expansion

7.4

LOI

14.3

Cost

17.76 per kg

Notes

This recipe converts the popular Worthington Clear Gerstley-Borate-based recipe into something much easier to use. While Worthington melts to a good clear it has serious gelling problems (characteristic of Gerstley Borate). Normal frits cannot easily source this high level of B2O3 so I have employed Ulexite to augment (a mineral similar to GB yet gels only slightly). Another issue with Worthington is shivering and fracturing of ware when glazed only on the inside (its thermal expansion was too low). This recipe also raises thermal expansion (by adding Na2O), the result is a glaze that fits a much wider range of bodies. Worthington also has clouding issues, this yields a more crystal clear, defect free fired result.

Dipping ware in Zero3 Transparent is just so much easier than trying to paint on than commercial, slow drying clears. It produces a slurry with very nice suspension, drying and application properties. It naturally gels (at around 1.4 SG in our lab). It applies very well in an even layer to low or high porosity bisque (the gel makes it hang on without running or dripping). However the 1.4 specific gravity (which is lower than most stoneware glazes) means that it dries slower if bisque is dense.

As a clear overglaze to finish your decorated ware, this glaze has a number of advantages over commercial clear glazes:
-It is much less expensive so it is practical to have a large pail of it so that pieces can be easily dip-glazed (using dipping tongs).
-It behaves like stoneware glazes, it suspends well and applies in an even layer that can dry to handling stage is seconds.
-It fires to a better crystal clear.
-Since the recipe is known, and contains no toxic materials, you can more confidently assure retailers that it is safe; all underglaze color decoration is isolated from any contact with food or drink by this glaze.
-It is compatible with most underglaze colors (including pinks).

Pay special attention to the soak-soak-slow cool firing schedule for this glaze, especially if your clay body is not fine grained.

Note: Later we did find a way to create the chemistry of this glaze using a combination of frits (look for a link).

Pictures

Terrastone, L215

The successful firing of these mugs represents two years of testing to learn how to get a crystal clear glaze and how to create slips that dry and fire bond well! The firing schedule is very important: Cone 03 soak-rise-soak-slowcool. Slips are bright colored (they contain only 10% stains).

Left: L3786E Plainsman Terrastone test mix with L3724M vitreous red slip with G2931F glaze. Wax resist exposes portions of the red slip which flashes near the glaze boundary.

Center: Terrastone with L3685U vitreous white slip inside and brushed on (and 10% stained versions of it brushed on) with G2931F glaze.

Right: L3724M vitreous red body with L3685U engobe (and stained versions of it) with G2931F glaze.

Shivers on L212

G2931F on L215 cone 04,03,02

All survived boiling water, ice water test without crazing.

L213 with G2931F glaze cone 04, 03, 02

Boiling water, ice water tested. None crazed.

Zero3 body with G2931F Zero3 glaze

The F version of the glaze employs Ulexite to source the boron (instead of frits). These Zero3 stoneware mugs were fired to cone 03 with underglazes. The right mug has the Zero3 engobe inside (under the glaze).

G2931F (left), G2931G (right) on buffstone

Cone 03. Did boiling water, ice water test on both. F crazes (notice the piece is waterlogged). G does not. Buffstone has a high porosity at this temperature so glazes must fit well.

G2931F on F100, Buffstone, L212 and L215

Out of the kiln all fit. However it crazed on buffstone after boiling water, ice water test (use 2931G instead). The others are good. L212 crazes at cone 04.

Firing temperature is important for Zero3 glaze

This is G2931F on Plainsman Buffstone, L213, F100, L215. First column is cone 04, center is cone 03, right is cone 02. All exited the kiln without crazing except Buffstone at cone 04.

We subjected all of them to a 300F:IceWater thermal shock.
Buffstone crazed on all of them.
L215 and L212 Cone 04 crazed.
L213 was good but later the glaze was found to be under excessive compression, subject to shivering over underglazes.
At cone 02 there are some dimples and defects.

G2931F vs G2931K - Melted balls at cone 03

F is obviously bubbling more, the percolation is causing the melt to spread out more on the tile. On the flow test is was less fluid.

G2931F vs. G2931K on Polar Ice Low Fire

2931F was the Ulexite flused version of this recipe. The F survived three boil:ice cycles and 1 300F:ice cycle without crazing or shivering.
The K is slightly smoother, tiny dimples in the surface are fewer. It is also applied thicker.

Testdata

LDW - LOI/Density/Water Content

WWGT DWGT H2O LOI DENS
1 21.86 11.23 48.6%

Born: 2014-03-19, Modified: 2017-06-08 10:38:17

Zero3 K Low Fire Transparent Glaze

Code #

G2931K

Materials Amt Units
Ferro Frit 3195 25.000 KG 26.32%
Ferro Frit 3134 33.000 KG 34.74%
EPK 20.000 KG 21.05%
Ferro Frit 3249 10.000 KG 10.53%
Ferro Frit 3110 7.000 KG 7.37%

Total:95,000.00 (R)

Unity Formula

CaO 0.59
MgO 0.10
Na2O 0.31
(KNaO) 0.31
B2O3 0.76
Al2O3 0.41
SiO2 2.45

Si:Al Ratio

6.1:1

SiB:Al Ratio

7.9:1

Calculated
Expansion

7.4

LOI

3.1

Cost

0.20 per kg

Notes

This recipe converts the popular Worthington Clear Gerstley-Borate-based low fire clear recipe into something that does not become a bucket of jelly, does not crack on drying, does not go on unevenly or the wrong thickness, does not cloud up with boron blue or micro-bubbles when fired (because it has lower CaO), does not craze or shiver (when used on the types of bodies discussed below). The major development work culminated in the Ulexite-fluxed G2931F. This recipe, G2931K, was formulated to have the same chemistry as F but use frits instead of Ulexite to source the boron. The results are excellent, actually stunning! This one also has even fewer micro-dimples in the fired surface (visible in the light on very close inspection) and is crystal clear and super glassy.

We have found this works on Plainsman low fires like L212, 215, Terrastone plus Zero3 stoneware and Zero3 porcelain. It shivers on 50:50 Talc:Ball clay bodies (like Plainsman L213).

As noted, while Worthington melts to a good clear it has serious gelling problems (characteristic of Gerstley Borate). An issue with Worthington is shivering and fracturing of ware when glazed only on the inside (its thermal expansion was too low). This recipe raises thermal expansion (by adding Na2O), the result is a glaze that fits a much wider range of bodies.

Dipping ware in Zero3 Transparent is just so much easier than trying to paint on commercial, slow drying clears. It produces a slurry with very nice suspension, drying and application properties. It naturally gels at around 1.53 specific gravity (in our circumstances), but we add water to bring it down to about 1.46-1.47 and add Epsom Salts to gel it back up (google glaze thixotropy to learn more). This produces a slurry that applies very well in an even layer to low or high porosity bisque (the gel makes it hang on without running or dripping). However extra water means that it dries slower on dense bisque.

As a clear overglaze to finish your decorated ware, this glaze has a number of other advantages over commercial clear glazes:
-It is much less expensive so it is practical to have a large pail of it so that pieces can be easily dip-glazed (using dipping tongs).
-It behaves like stoneware glazes, it suspends well and applies in an even layer that can dry to handling stage is seconds.
-It fires to a better crystal clear than many.
-Since the recipe is known, and contains no toxic materials, you can more confidently assure retailers that it is safe; all underglaze color decoration is isolated from any contact with food or drink by this glaze.
-It is compatible with most underglaze colors (including pinks).

Pay special attention to the drop-and-hold firing schedule for this glaze, especially if your clay body is not fine grained.

To mix up 5 Kg:
G2931K glaze 5.0 Kg
Water: 4.5 Kg.
Mixed for approx. 1/2 hour
S.G. 100 ml. grad. cyl. 1.46
S.G. 1.0 L. grad. cyl. 1.46
S.G. Hydrometer 1.46
Viscosity: Ford Cup 10.8 seconds.
Yield: 6.5 litres.

Batch Ticket Notes

These notes were entered in the notes panel under "Batch Ticket Notes"

Pictures

Zero3 body with G2931F Zero3 glaze

The F version of the glaze employs Ulexite to source the boron (instead of frits). These Zero3 stoneware mugs were fired to cone 03 with underglazes. The right mug has the Zero3 engobe inside (under the glaze).

G2931K Fritted version of G2931F - Cup

Fired cone 03. Body is Zero3 stoneware.
Surface is perfect, even where thick. Ultra clear.
Survived three boil:ice cycles and one 300F:ice cycle without crazing.

G2931F vs. G2931K on Polar Ice Low Fire

2931F was the Ulexite flused version of this recipe. The F survived three boil:ice cycles and 1 300F:ice cycle without crazing or shivering.
The K is slightly smoother, tiny dimples in the surface are fewer. It is also applied thicker.

G2931F vs G2931K fritted - terra cotta mugs cone 03

F was the Ulexite-fluxed version of this recipe.

G2931F vs G2931K flow test

These two recipes have the same chemistry, but K sources boron from frits rather than Ulexite. Notice how much less bubbles there are in the flow and how much more predictable the melting pattern is.

G2931F vs G2931K - Melted balls at cone 03

F is obviously bubbling more, the percolation is causing the melt to spread out more on the tile. On the flow test is was less fluid.

Firing temperature is important for Zero3 glaze

This is G2931F on Plainsman Buffstone, L213, F100, L215. First column is cone 04, center is cone 03, right is cone 02. All exited the kiln without crazing except Buffstone at cone 04.

We subjected all of them to a 300F:IceWater thermal shock.
Buffstone crazed on all of them.
L215 and L212 Cone 04 crazed.
L213 was good but later the glaze was found to be under excessive compression, subject to shivering over underglazes.
At cone 02 there are some dimples and defects.

Typecodes

ST-Untitled typecode

Alternate Code Number:GS04-1

Born: 2006-03-16, Modified: 2017-06-16 14:54:57

Firing Schedule Name

Cone 03 hold-rise-drop-hold

Degrees (Fahrenheit or Celcius)

Unspecified

Schedule Type

Rate

Start Time and Temperature

8:01 am (no temperature specified)

Program

Step Degrees/Hr Temperature
Monitor
Hold
Time
Accumulated
hrs:min
Time Note
1 400 240 60 1:36 9:37 am
2 800 1850 30 4:06 12:07 pm
3 108 1950 10 5:11 1:12 pm
4 500 1850 30 5:53 1:54 pm

Notes

The firing can start and finish within your working day. Step 2 can often be done as fast as your kiln will go. We are done cold-to-cold in three hours.

The soak at 240F does not fracture ware even though it is above the boiling point of water. We find this is needed to be sure ware is sufficiently dry to withstand the rapid ascent to 1850. If your ware is thicker a slow ascent may be needed.

The 1850 soak on the way up clears the clouds of microbubbles. The 1850 soak on the way down heals the defects (blisters, pinholes) because the increasing viscosity is enough to overcome the surface tension holding bubbles from breaking).

It may be necessary to alter the last step if any imperfections are present. Try dropping to 1800 or 1750 and holding there. An additional step could be added to cool at 100F/hr down to 1500.