Discover the strength and high melting point of porcelain by melting it at home with a blow torch. Porcelain was first used by the Chinese and contains the mineral kaolin, which has a melting point of 3,275 degrees. Kaolin is not as pliable as other types of clay, so ceramicists add other ingredients to it to soften it. Thus, the melting point of porcelain is slightly lower. A few home kilns are hot enough to fire porcelain into pottery but not for melting. One way to melt porcelain is to use an oxy-acetylene torch, which burns up to 6,000 degrees.
Place the porcelain in a vise over concrete. The porcelain needs to be placed in a safe area that is not flammable, such as a welding shop or in a stone pit.
Check the levels of your separate oxygen and acetylene tanks. It should be at least half full for this job. An oxy-acetylene torch mixes these two gases to form its flame.
Scrape out any carbon deposits inside the torch's nozzle with a nozzle cleaning tool. It looks like a file and prevents the nozzle from backfiring. Screw the nozzle onto the torch's handle.
Turn the main valve counterclockwise a half turn to open it. Turn the pressure valve on the acetylene tank clockwise to open it. Adjust it to 5 psi on its gauge. Open the acetylene pin on the torch's handle to release the acetylene gas. Check the acetylene gas's pressure regulator gauge again to make sure it stays constant at 5 psi. Close the pin.
Turn the pressure regulator valve on the oxygen tank clockwise to open it. Adjust it so the pressure displays 10 psi on its gauge. Open the oxygen pin on the torch's handle. Adjust the pressure regulator valve on the oxygen tank so it is constant at 10 psi. Close the pin.
Wear your welding shield or mask. Put your welding gloves on. Open the acetylene valve slightly so you can just hear the gas. Ignite the flame by striking the flint striker in front of the torch.
Add more acetylene by opening up the valve more. Open the oxygen pin slightly to form a flame that is intense white-blue, which is the hottest. Apply heat to the porcelain. Once it glows, it is starting to melt.
Things You'll Need
- Oxy-acetylene torch
- Nozzle cleaning tool
- Welding shield or mask
- Welding gloves
- Flint striker
Turn off the torch by closing the oxygen pin first and then shutting off the acetylene valve. Shut off the main valve. Open the oxygen pin to release any extra gas. Release the acetylene gas by opening its pin.
The porcelain can be placed in a barbecue pit or large ceramic pot for melting.
Keep a bucket of water nearby.
Wear protective gear at all times, especially the welding shield or mask. The light from the flame can damage your eyes.
Wear long sleeves and a leather jacket to protect your arms and body. Steel-toed boots also can be worn.
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