Apparently invisible. Chemistry in ceramics.

Apparently invisible. Chemistry in ceramics.

Aware of how complex the problems related to the world of chemistry applied to ceramic production processes can be, we want to share our knowledge with those who want to orient themselves or train for passion or profession. Through a simple and direct language, the podcast aims to be an educational space with a focus on products, applications and processes. The journey unfolds along the ceramic production lines. At each stage a topic. At each topic a critical issue. At each critical issue, when possible, a solution.


March 20, 2023 15 min
The ceramic glaze application that takes place along the glazing line is one of the most delicate steps of the ceramic production process.

If you want to get high performances in terms of process and product, the glaze must be marked by proper rheological features that always change according to the application conditions of the production line.

The right formulation of glaze suspensions, therefore is a precondition for a proper appl...
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In ceramic production, grit applications are mainly "wet applications" made by means of airless spraying systems.

A kind of application that involves a huge amount of water within which the grit is suspended. Nevertheless, in recent time a different application method is spreading.

We could define it as a dry method that, however, has nothing to do with digital systems (that involve, instead, the use of digital glues together with a ...
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In the field of ceramics, glazes are usually applied on the raw tile by means of spray “analogical” systems (airless application system).

Nevertheless, recently some new application machines have appeared on the market.

They cannot be defined as completely digital but they cannot even be comparable to traditional analogue techniques. How do they work?

What kind of features should the glaze have to be properly applied?
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Along the ceramic production line that from the pressing stage leads to the kilns, raw tiles (still delicate and fragile) often undergo to stresses on the conveyor roller that can compromise them.

Chipping or breakage may occur if no preventive action is taken to increase the material's mechanical resistance.
  • What does the mechanical resistance value mean?
  • How do chemicals used to increase it work?
  • What measures can be taken to ach...
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The ceramic production process - after the early stages that from the formation of the tile under the press lead to the applications of the glazing line - usually involves a final application of grit or glaze. Sometimes in huge amount.

If you do not meet the proper parameters of the process, this application can lead to several problems able to compromise the ceramic surface, both technically and aesthetically.

The formation of pinho...
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In the ceramic tiles prodcution, engobes, grits, and glazes are still applied - to a large extent - by means of airless spray systems.

chine is equipped with spraying guns that end with special nozzles that properly discharge the suspension on the raw ceramic surface. Sometimes these nozzles can be clogged during application stage, forcing producers to slow down or even stop the production cycle.

The problem, that has a significant a...
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The lapping and polishing processes that provide ceramic tiles with the proper aesthetic features, both involve the removal of a very thin layer of glaze that is on the very external part of the tile.

Even if the amount of removed material is very small, these processes may bring out to the surface all that micro-porosity that are inside the glaze.

Since they are no more protected and sealed, the pores remain exposed chemical and dir...
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December 5, 2022 9 min
Process water play a very important role within ceramic activities, being involved in a wide range of production’s steps. If on the one hand they are strictly necessary to the course of the work, they can lead on the other hand to problems when they do not fits the required production parameters.

The fourth episode of the podcast APPARENTLY INVISIBLE. CHEMISTRY IN CERAMIC, now available on the leading audio platform, is exactly foc...
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During their storage in the tanks, semi-finished products can be affected by bacterial degradations that, if they are not properly managed, may lead to application critical issues as well as to serious defects in the finished tile product, such as pinholes Just to give an example.

What kind of action must be taken to face the problem?
Is it possible to restore the right features of a bacterially compromised suspension?
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November 22, 2022 9 min
The gelling phenomena of slurries inside the storage tanks is not so unusual as one might suppose.
Let’s find out the causes and identify possible solutions.
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November 21, 2022 10 min
Why do tiles explode within the kiln?
The phenomena that occur inside the kiln is quite similar to those that develops inside a pressure cooker: pressure > that generates an expansion > that develops a deformation > that leads to an explosion.

When this happens, companies have to stop the production process wtih serious economic consequences.

What do you need to know to prevent, or at least significantly reduce the problem?
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November 4, 2022 2 min
The role of chemistry in ceramic production.
What are the mechanisms behind the several steps of the ceramic production process?
What are the main problems that can arise and what answers can chemistry offer to solve or, at least, contain them?

APPARENTLY INVISIBLE is a long journey through the ceramic production lines, between problems and solutions.

At each stage a topic
For each topic a critical issue.
For each issue, when possible, ...
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