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Ceramic firing

During this process, which is also called sintering with reference to technical ceramics, the dried moulded body is changed into a hard, waterproof product. Individual substances such as water, organic additives and carbon dioxide evaporate at temperatures around 1,000°C. The argillaceous constituents decompose and new minerals are produced. The crystals bind to the grain boundaries and are merged due to the glass elements. The material properties of the fired workpiece are defined depending on mass and type, i.e. the grain size distribution or textures of the crystal and glass phases as well as the proportion and structure of the pores.

Ceramic firing takes place at temperatures up to 1,400°C. The various raw materials, in view of the product to be obtained, often require that the temperatures are adjusted individually (temperature profile). Furthermore, this firing process may have to be carried out in a reduced atmosphere to avoid any yellowing due to iron impurities in white crockery or sanitary ceramics.

In mass production, periodic and continuous furnaces are usually used, e.g. potter furnaces or batch furnaces, which are run on fossil fuels, whereas electrical furnaces tend to be used for manual crafts. Firing furnaces which are intended to treat small numbers of items are available as open systems in which the combustion gases come into direct contact with the items to be fired and as muffle furnaces in which the combustion gases heat the items indirectly.

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