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SkitzoidLady

Question About How Cold Bisque Can Get In Below Zero Temps

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Just a little bit of background since this is my first time posting. 

 

My daughter has been working in ceramics and pottery for over 10 years.  I just took up the art form.  We are long time Florida residents and this past week-end had a show in Crystal River, FL.  A gentleman bought one of my pieces, and made  comment that he hoped his wife would like it.  Keep in mind that many people in Florida come down for the winter as snow birds, then head back up north for the summer. 

 

After we left the event, the gentleman called my cell phone and asked how my piece would handle -25 F temperatures in his cabin up north.  My daughter and I were completely stumped.  We are Floridians.  We don't think about this kind of stuff!  I've Googled his question and came up with nothing.

 

We bisque fired at cone 04 and glaze fired at cone 6.  I want to respond to him, but have no clue what to say.

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Welcome to the forum and thank you for posting!

 

I moved your thread to the "Studio" section of the forum, where it will get more views and hopefully more responses.

SkitzoidLady likes this

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If your clay is a vitrified stoneware with low absorption, there will be no problem.

 

The only risk to clay objects in extreme cold is if they contain enough water to freeze and expand.

 

I once lost an entire studio full of leatherhard pots... probably 500 pieces... because I let the studio freeze overnight.

 

That was a sad morning.

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Ceramics are good about tolerating the extremes, so even that cold shouldn't caude a problem.

 

The issue arises,when ceramics have dramatic temperature changes. So if the customer took that incredibly cold item, and rapidly heated it. The oppositie is also true. If you take a hot ceramic it, and quickly cool it. In both causes you can get thermal shick, and the ware can crack.

 

Also, unless they are keeping the item outside, I don't see how it wouldmget to -25F inside. My garage doesn't get below 0 F, even when it gets that cold.

 

In any case, they will be fine, unless they do the aforementioned quick heating and cooling.

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I have had the same discussion with my clay club up here is Washington.  We concluded that the question is about how porous your work is when it is completed.  If fully vitrified and non-porous (so some extent all ceramic is porous) the better it will survive freezing temps.  It all has to do with the moisture that is trapped in the ceramic.  When ice is formed in these areas it will crack the ceramic.

 

Not sure testing in a freezer would work, because it needs all the environment variables present in something outdoors.

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Our little cabin in NY got down to 40 below last winter... inside.  We turn the power off and drain the water system when we leave in the fall.

 

But most Cone 6 midrange stoneware is vitreous enough that unless water is standing in the piece when it freezes, it should be okay.

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A bisqued piece will break down with time in the freeze/thaw cycles if left outside. But not quickly. The temperature reached doesn't matter; the cycling of freeze and thaw is what breaks rocks apart.

 

Wet clay does not freeze well and will fall apart like a greenware piece in water.

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The cold doesn't matter. It's moisture that is the problem during freeze. Water expands as it freezes, so if it freezes inside the wall of the pot it will break it apart. Vitrified work is of little worry since it likely contains virtually no moisture, especially if it's been indoors. Even porous low fire work can handle the freeze just fine if it's indoors and dry.

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