What Is Porcelain? The Benefits & Process
Porcelain is a popular ceramic that is made from a combination of kaolin, clay, quartz and feldspar. This ancient ceramic originated in China and it is prized for centuries as it perfectly balances delicacy and durability.
Raw materials are mixed and then shaped into different designs for creating some amazing products. This ceramic is different from other ceramic products due to its unique characteristics like whiteness, hardness and translucency.
The reason for choosing porcelain over the alternatives is its high density, low porosity and mechanical resistance. It offers a beautiful look to the product coupled with soft touch and durability that is needed for everyday use.
Translucent and fine-grained ceramic wares are an excellent addition to your home as you can use them as cookware or for elegantly adorning your home. Different technological processes are used for creating these masterpieces which include firing, drying, molding and proportioning.
It results in finer luster, transparent body and tougher texture that adds durability to porcelain so that you can use it regularly. These ceramic products are baked at high temperatures for achieving glassy or vitreous qualities like low porosity and translucence.
Three types of porcelain
This type of ceramic is made from china stone or petuntse which is a feldspathic rock. This rock is ground to make a powder which is then mixed with kaolin or white china clay for making the results.
A high temperature is used to vitrify the paste and the shape of the object is retained during the process of creating an attractive product.
Translucent Chinese porcelain is also known as a soft paste which is a mixture of ground glass and clay. This is created with softer firing as compared to the other variety which is distinguished due to its softer body. It can easily be cut with a file so that you will not face difficulty in cleaning these products without much effort.
Bone chinaThis variety of ceramic is made of cow bone in which 50% of the compound is bone ash. The most renowned bone china marks are the Wedgewood, Royal Worcester and Royal Crown Derby.
Process of making porcelain
There are different complex production processes involving multi stages which include shaping, firing, glazing and decoration. Raw porcelain clay is made into a mould and the raw ingredients are mixed with water for achieving plasticity.
For getting the correct texture and consistency, skills, patience and workability are used so that the desired products are made. Jugs, teapots and serving pieces are made using ceramic moulds and on the other hands' cups, bowls, plates and mugs are made in steel moulds.
The handles of the teapots and mugs are cast separately after which it is fixed to the body by the hands. Any uneven surfaces and rough areas are removed by hand for creating the most attractive-looking porcelain products.
Benefits of choosing porcelain
When you are looking for a durable, water-resistant and easy-to-clean ceramic product then you should choose porcelain. Since it is made from all-natural raw materials, the risks of being contaminated by mold or bacterial growth are minimized.
You can use porcelain tiles for moisture-prone and high-traffic areas so that they will be of excellent quality for a long period. The best part of using this product is that it can be reused and recycled without being added to the landfill.
Manufacturing process of porcelain
Raw material selection- for making porcelain, the desired quality, quantity and type of raw materials are selected for going through a series of steps. Determining the character of the raw material is extremely important as it helps in achieving the desired quality of the end product.
There are many factors that you need to consider before going ahead with this step which include mineral phase, composition, colloidal surface area and particle size distribution
Processing of raw material
After the selection of raw material, the desired weight of each material is measured. Then, these raw materials are crushed and purified after which they are mixed for going through any of the forming processes.
The selection of the forming process depends on the kind of ware that needs to be produced so that you will get the best results. The different forming processes that are used include stiff plastic forming, soft plastic forming, casting and pressing
The porcelain parts that come after the forming process are then bisque fired. This means that heating of the parts are done at a relatively low temperature for vaporizing the volatile contaminants and minimizing shrinkage during the firing.
The glaze is applied to the surface of the wares using different processes including pouring, dipping, spraying or painting. Different kinds of glazes are produced which include calcia, silica and alumina so you can get different kinds of glaze on different products.
This process can either be carried on inside the kiln or oven and the selection of the process depends on the type of result you want. The firing cycle should be determined based on the product you want to manufacture so that it will create the desired look and finish.
Different products made from porcelain:
when you are looking for fancy dinnerware and dishes for adorning your home or serving food then you should choose porcelain. These items are easy to reuse and clean so you can buy porcelain dinnerware and crockery for your home.
The intricate porcelain articles are also used in restaurants as these are rigid, strong and very durable for regular use.
Porcelain is used for making tiles for both walls and floors especially for the kitchen, bathroom and laundry. These tiles are expensive as compared to the other ceramic tiles but it is more durable and have a lower water absorption rate making them a popular choice.
Insulators for electronic appliances
As porcelain does not conduct electricity, it is used for creating insulators for electronic applications.
Porcelains are used for making crowns and caps by dentists as these are life like tooth restorations. The use of this element in the dental field is very prominent as it is durable and resembles the color of natural teeth.