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Tammy Troyer

Using Elements and Element Pins in

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18 minutes ago, neilestrick said:

Old elements are pretty brittle, though. You'd be better off using new element wire.


..hummm, that seems to beg the question of how many firings are required to convert the element wire to a brittle state,

so I will ask:  How many firings (or what is the cumulative heating time) required to make an element wire become brittle?  What is the threshold temperature for onset of brittleness of element wire? 


LT

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1 hour ago, Magnolia Mud Research said:


..hummm, that seems to beg the question of how many firings are required to convert the element wire to a brittle state,

so I will ask:  How many firings (or what is the cumulative heating time) required to make an element wire become brittle?  What is the threshold temperature for onset of brittleness of element wire? 


LT

No clue. I only ever pull elements out of kilns when they've been fired a ton.

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Assuming you want to use the wire as a decorative element, you shouldn't have a problem with sticking just one end of the wire into the clay,  or two ends with the coil above the clay, but pressing/laying wire into clay might create some shrinkage cracks. If you have time, the best thing to do is to test.

Edited by Rae Reich

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At what point do they become brittle....well define brittle. So brittle any bending while cold will snap, or more brittle that brand new? Out of the package they can be manipulated without breaking, however after the first firing they develop an oxide layer on the surface which helps protect and extend the life of the wire. Hence why they are shiny when new, and black/grey/crusty after firing. This oxidization continues to occur throughout each firing, and while dormant. After the first firing I wont bend an element wire without heating it to a dull orange/red color with a torch, and bending while hot (pliers) to avoid breaking it (doing this to bring wire back into channels).

Without any definitive testing I would have no idea, how long is too brittle. If you're making jewelry Id use new so the wire has the most integrity and surface as possible. For sculpture any state is fine, just might need to heat to bend.

 If you put the wire into very thin pieces of clay it will crack it as the clay shrinks around the metal during firing, so some testing will tell you how thin/small is too small.

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