is a ceramic material made by heating refined minerals, often including clay
in the form of kaolinite, to high temperatures in a kiln at temperatures
between 1,200 °C (2,192 °F) and 1,400 °C (2,552 °F). The toughness,
strength, and translucence of porcelain arise mainly from the formation at
these high temperatures of glass and the mineral mullite within the fired
was named after its resemblance to the white, shiny cowry, called in old
Italian porcella, because the curved shape of its upper surface resembles
the curve of a pig's back. Properties associated with porcelain include low
permeability and elasticity; high strength, hardness, glassiness,
durability, whiteness, translucence, resonance, brittleness; high resistance
to chemical attack and thermal shock.
porcelain is generally divided into the three main categories of hard-paste,
soft-paste and bone china, depending on the composition of the paste.
primary components of porcelain are clays, feldspar or flint, and silica,
all characterized by small particle size. To create different types of
porcelain, craftspeople combine these raw materials in varying proportions
until they obtain the desired green (unfired) and fired properties.
raw materials are selected and the desired amounts weighed, they go through
a series of preparation steps. First, they are crushed and purified. Next,
they are mixed together before being subjected to one of four forming
processes—soft plastic forming, stiff plastic forming, pressing, or casting;
the choice depends upon the type of ware being produced.
porcelain has been formed, it is subjected to a final purification process,
bisque-firing, before being glazed. Glaze is a layer of decorative glass
applied to and fired onto a ceramic body. The final manufacturing phase is
firing, a heating step that takes place in a type of oven called a kiln.
is used to make table, kitchen, sanitary and decorative wares, objects of
fine art and tiles. Its high resistance to the passage of electricity makes
porcelain an excellent insulating material and it is widely used for
high-voltage insulators. It is also used in dentistry to make false teeth,
caps and crowns.
High-quality porcelain art and dinnerware will continue to enhance the
culture. Improvements in manufacturing will continue to increase both
productivity and energy efficiency. For instance, a German kiln manufacturer
has developed a prefabricated tunnel kiln for fast firing high-quality
porcelain in less than 5 hours. Firing is achieved by partly reducing
atmosphere at a maximum firing temperature of 2,555 degrees Fahrenheit
(1,400 degrees Celsius). The kiln uses high-velocity burners and an
automatic control system, producing 23,000 pounds (11,500 kilograms) of
porcelain in 24 hours.
past years, domestic production of Porcelain in Russia has declined
drastically. The decay in the porcelain industry is wrapped up with a
tradition of producers having placed the pieces with international awards in
museum cases, instead of using them for mass production. The result is that
the Russian porcelain industry is trying hard to compete with overseas
suppliers in terms of quantity, with hand-painted tea sets, for example,
sold for as little as US$15 each.
lower-end market has already been taken over by cheap imports from Ukraine
(a traditional source of porcelain clay since the 1740s) and more recently,
China. The harsh fact is that consumers prefer cheap chinaware to the
traditional hand-painted, modestly-priced but still delicately transparent
porcelain on offer from local factories.
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