A refractory material is one that won't
burn. The term is commonly used to refer to such materials as
ceramic fiber paper and fiber board, but in its broadest sense the
term refractory also includes such items as metals, mica, kiln wash,
and more. Refractory materials are essential to the artist who
works with a kiln -- in fact, with the exception of glues and
binders that burn off in the kiln, virtually every material we use
is a refractory material.
The most common refractory materials used by
the kiln-former fall into the following categories:
1. Mullite and cordierite -- used to make kiln shelves and
strips for damming.
2. Ceramic Fiber -- a broad category,
ranging from fiber paper to fiber blanket to rigid fiber board.
3. Vermiculite and mica -- naturally
occurring minerals that can also be used by the glass worker
4. Metals -- includes copper, stainless
steel, silver, aluminum, and more
5. Plaster -- gypsum based refractory
materials include pottery plaster, hydrocal, gypsum cement, and
This list is only a partial one. Other
refractory materials include silica cloth, whiting, graphite, talc,
and common sandbox sand.
This is part one of a
multi-part tip on refractory materials for the kiln worker. Future installments will include more
detailed information about these refractory materials, including
ways to use them as inclusions, as mold material, and more.
Copyright 2005 Brad Walker.
All rights reserved.
This list compiled from numerous
sources, including the Warm Glass board, manufacturer's materials,
and Graham Stone's Firing Schedules for Glass.