Frances Osborne Pottery and CeramicsA Pottery Kiln - Which Type is Good For You?

By G. Smitty | Submitted On May 15, 2010

Pottery refers to the ceramic products made by potters including the porcelain, stoneware and earthenware. The potteries have existed since the ancient days and are numerous today. The industry continues to grow and expand and you can get items for use and for plain decoration. To perform this ceramic art form, you must buy a pottery kiln. Any type of a kiln requires heat treatment, frequently at very high temperature ranges.

The chemical and physical responses occur, causing the materials to be changed permanently. When doing ceramics, a potter has to shape clay materials, dry and fire them in a kiln. Today this is not a major problem because of the available electrical and gas systems. The two major broad types of pottery kilns you can buy include the following:

Intermittent- the potter loads into the kiln the ware to be fired and seals the kiln. Further, the potter increases the internal temperatures as desired. When firing is completed, the potter cools both the ware and the kiln.
Tunnel- this involves long structures that are directly heated only around their central sections. Therefore the entrance is cool and through it the ware is gradually conveyed. As the ware approaches the central section, the temperature is increased. Towards the exit, the temperature is reduced. Often called a continuous pottery kiln, the Tunnel is considered as the most energy efficient kiln available. The heat that is released during cooling is recycled to heat the raw ware.

Most of the pottery kilns you are likely to find are either based on the tunnel or intermittent manufacturing concept. Some of the commonly bought kilns include:

Electric kilns- these types of kilns are electric powered and they were manufactured since the 1900. These kilns were made specifically for small-scale pottery, done in the institutions of learning or recreation centers. Most electric kilns have sufficient oxygen atmosphere. You can reduce these conditions via gas input. These types of pottery kilns are popularly bought.
The modern Kilns- most industrial kilns use natural gas because its efficient, pure and easily controlled. These modern kilns have computerized controls to make adjustments in every firing cycle. You can control the temperature ramp, soak or hold it at any level or even control the cooling. You can use any of these kilns to sculpture or to perform handcrafting at home. These are of course used mainly in the industrial setting.
Microwave kilns- these pottery kilns integrate microwave energy with other conventional energy sources. These sources include radiant gas or electricity. These types of kilns are known to bring many economic benefits.
The Feller Kiln- This type of a pottery kiln replaced the ancient wood firing technique by recycling the unburnt chimney gas. The air is normally heated before it can enter the firebox. This causes a shorter firing cycle and the rate of wood consumption is reduced. Being a typical metal, the in-chimney radiator is likely to melt and this is avoided by creating external ventilation. The Feller kiln and other available types of pottery kilns in the market are very efficient.

G. Smitty is a writer who loves to discuss many topics ranging from electric kilns [] to professional basketball. Thanks for reading!

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