Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Stress Testing

You should be testing for stress in any new set up. This includes new processes, different layering, different colour combinations, and any other variation that you make in your basic processes.

You can buy kits called stressometers. The devices called stressometer are not actually meters. They are battery powered light sources with two pieces of polarized film in frames. This is very good for small kiln formed pieces. For larger pieces you can use your light table with larger pieces of polarized film. A description of how to use these is given here.

Stress appears as a “halo” of light around the stressed areas. The more light that appears in, or at the edges of the piece, the greater stress is being indicated. The amount of acceptable stress is given in a Bullseye Technical Note.

However, if you test only the combination of glass you propose to use, you will not know if the stress is from incompatibility or from annealing – the appearance is the same for both. This means that you need to place an additional test into the kiln, to determine the adequacy of annealing. This is especially important when tack fusing and doing thick work. The process for doing this is given here.