Monday, 20 September 2010

Temperature Rise Rates

I am always concerned when people recommend soaks on the way up in order to equalise temperatures. If the soak is required because the ramp rate is too fast, there are breakages going to happen sometime - maybe not now, maybe not tomorrow, but certainly sometime. If you need that extra time, add it into the schedule. E.g., a ramp rate of 200C from 20C to 520C with a 20 min soak could also be written as 176C/hr from 20C to 520C - both take 2.833 hours to achieve the same temperature. A controlled heating rate is preferable to one or more rapid rates with soaks.

I am also concerned about very rapid temperature rises after the bubble squeeze. The controllers often cannot adequately control such rapid rises. The rapid rise also often requires a higher target temperature to achieve the desired effect. This can mean that it is easier for bubbles - large and small - to form and rise to the surface during the overshoot of the target temperature. Temperature increases are about heat work - the combination of temperature and time. This means that you can achieve the desired result in two ways:

1- fast rise to high temperature or

2- Slow rise to lower temperature.

The second strategy may also require a longer soak at the target temperature than the one with a fast rise to a high temperature.

The aim in kiln work should be to achieve the effect you want at the lowest practical temperature. This is because glasses tend to change their characteristics more at higher temperatures than at lower temperatures.