I've been having trouble with a couple of glazes and for months have been wondering if it was a flocculation issue. At this point I'm thinking that my water is probably the issue. But, during this time I've been trying to get my head around flocculation and deflocculation and have been trying to find a way to actually physically see a cause become an effect. This week I was reading about slips and it occurred to me that I've been going about this all wrong. I should have started with slips from the beginning. Slips are mostly clay and when trying to affect the flocculation of a glaze one is mostly working with the clay in the glaze (usually a fairly small percentage of total volume). So if you focus on slip you can presumably see the effect more clearly. So far I've deflocculated a slip after the fact with sodium carbonate. I learned that it is probably best to deflocculate the water you will use to make the slip then to mix the slip with that water, thus keeping the water content down. I also need to use an equal amount of sodium silicate with the sodium carbonate and see if I can generate an observable reaction.
One of my problems with test amounts has been the skewing of results by mixing in amounts of water (bearing the flocculant/deflocculant) that change the rheology of the mix. Thus, the idea that the flocculant/water solution should be mixed first then added. I'm guessing this should also help in managing the amounts of flocculant/deflocculant with reasonable accuracy.
This is pretty exciting to me and I hope someone out there is helped by my experience. I'll post more as I go.
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