Kiln

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A kiln is a thermally insulated chamber, or oven, in which a controlled temperature regime is produced. Uses include the hardening, burning or drying materials. Kilns are also used for the firing of materials, such as clay and other raw materials, to form ceramics.[1] This, as it produces a controlled temperature regime.

Specific other uses include:

Contents

Ceramic kilns

Kilns are an essential part of the manufacture of all ceramics, which, by definition, require heat treatment, often at high temperature. During this process, chemical and physical reactions occur which cause the material to be permanently altered. In the case of pottery, clay materials are shaped, dried and then fired in a kiln. The final characteristics are determined by the composition and preparation of the clay body, by the temperature at which it is fired, and by the glazes that may be used. Although modern kilns often have sophisticated electrical systems to control the firing temperatures, pyrometric devices have been used to provide visual indication of the firing regime since around 1000 AD.

Clay consists of fine-grained particles, that are relatively weak and porous. Clay is combined with other minerals to create a workable clay body. Part of the firing process includes sintering. This process heats the clay until the particles partially melt and flow together, creating a strong, single mass, composed of a glassy phase interspersed with pores and crystalline material. Through firing, the pores are reduced in size, causing the material to shrink slightly. This crystalline material is a matrix of predominantly silicon and aluminium oxides, and is very hard and strong, although usually somewhat brittle.

Types of kiln

In the broadest terms, there are two types of kiln, both sharing the same basic characteristics of being an insulated box with controlled inner temperature and atmosphere.

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