Porcelain is a type of ceramics used for creating fancy kitchen dishware, bathroom fittings, tiles and other decorative objects. Objects made from porcelain as sometimes referred to as “china,” because China was the original location that porcelain was made. Antique porcelain pieces are highly sort after and the rarest pieces can be worth many thousands of dollars. Let’s take a look at the modern porcelain manufacturing process.
How is porcelain made?
There are three main types of porcelain known as hard paste, soft paste and bone china. The differences between these types of porcelain are the composition and material used in the creation of the piece.
The first step is to create the paste that the porcelain is made from. This paste begins with the kaolin clay (kaolinite), originally discovered in China. Although this clay is a significant component of porcelain paste many other ingredients, such as feldspar, glass, bone ash, quartz, may also added. The exact recipe used depends on the type of porcelain being made. These materials are finely ground and a magnet is used to remove any trace of iron. The raw materials are then mixed and water is added to create a slurry, known as the paste. This can be cast on a wheel or shaped in molds. Once the paste has been made into the desired shape it is fired in a low heat kiln to prevent shrinkage. It is then glazed, painted and fired in a kiln at very high temperatures to create the finished piece of porcelain.