In this video, Dr Ian Brown, a senior research scientist with Industrial Research Limited, talks about the critical role that high temperature plays in the firing of ceramic materials. He explains the process known as ‘sintering’, which requires extremely high temperatures.
Point of interest
How are high-temperature ovens constructed and how do they work?
DR IAN BROWN
The use of temperature in firing ceramic is critical to the hardening and final shaping of the ceramic material, and whether it’s traditional based clay mineral-derived ceramic or a new high- performance ceramic, you are still going to need temperature to harden this material.
Hardening is a process we call ‘sintering’, which is the little grains of the individual ceramic components fused together and joined at their edges and forming an integral 3-dimensional structure. And the more they pull in and react with one another, the stronger and denser and harder the body is going to be.
Traditional materials – that temperature might be 1,100, 1,200, maybe 1,300 degrees. In some of these new high-performance materials, the temperature can be as high as 1,600–1,800 degrees, and as you appreciate, that is a lot more challenging in terms of the technology you need, and also there is a cost factor involved.