Can Egyptian Paste Techniques (Faience) Be Used For 3D Printed, Solid Free-form Fabrication of Ceramics?

Funded by: AHRC

Project partners: Richard Slee, Glenys Barton

David Huson and Professor Stephen Hoskins were awarded funding to develop a process based upon historic Egyptian Faience techniques with self-glazing properties based on the theoretical possibility of a printed, single fired, glazed ceramic object – something that has been impossible with current technology. They developed a process to enable artists, designers and crafts people to print 3D objects in a ceramic material which can be glazed and vitrified in one firing. The results were very impressive, producing brilliantly coloured glassy surfaces. A wide range of metal oxides, carbonates and associated compounds were tested including the classic turquoise colour of Egyptian Faience, as well as vibrant blue, green and brown colours.

Ceramics produced using these methods can be fired at much lower temperatures than traditional ceramics of around 900 degrees Celsius. This property has been exploited to develop a system where small 3D printed forms can be fired in a microwave oven in minutes rather than hours. This process uses a ‘microwave kiln’ that consists of a small refractory box in which the internal surface is coated with a microwave susceptor.

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