Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Kiln Forming Myths 21 - Powders burn away

Glass powders will burn off at high temperatures.

No.  The powder is glass.  Glass does not evaporate or otherwise combust at kiln forming temperatures.

The appearance of glass powders fading at fusing temperatures is related to the different appearance before and after firing.  Before firing, the powder looks both denser and paler than the final colour.  The initial experience with glass powder always is to put less on than needed. 

You need to remember that a thin film of powder is a tiny fraction of the thickness of the glass it is made from, so the colour will be much fainter.  A considerable amount of powder is required to give the colour shown by the colour charts – as much as 2mm for paler and transparent colours.  Opalescent colours show a little better with thin applications, but still require significant amounts.

This shows the application of powder on a piece where the powder provides almost all the colour for the piece.

The best procedure is to make test tiles with varying amounts of the powder to determine the thickness required for your desired result.  This gives a visual reference and experience in laying down the powder in appropriate thicknesses.

The appearance of the glass powder burning off, is merely the application of too little powder.