Sunday, July 03, 2011

The Joy of Metal Clay - Activated Carbon?

What is Activated Carbon?

As promised, I decided to investigate for more information about carbons that are used in firing many base metal clays. I must say there isn’t a lot of understandable information.

Activated is carbon that has been processed so that the carbon is more porous allowing a greater surface areas for the absorption of chemicals. The process used to activate carbon can be varied sometimes oxygen is used and in other cases a various of chemicals are used. The idea is to create a much more porous surface to allow better adsorption. There are several complicated ways this is done I won’t try and describe them as they are beyond by understanding.

Anyone have a Brita filter or aquarium, activated carbon is used in these items to filter the water by absorbing chlorines and other impurities.

In the metal clay world there are several types of carbon on the market. What I find confusing is that not all carbons work with all types of clay. From my experience Cocunut carbon seems the most versatile and reliable as I recently tried Coal Carbon with my Fast Fire Bronze and it did not work. It can be quite confusing and I don’t have it all figured out and there is not a lot of understandable information out there.

Regarding the failure of my Fast Fire BronzClay to sinter using the coal carbon, I was able to pull together a small batch of my Cocunut Carbon and refired it all. Success!!! So remember if a batch fails you may be able to refire it again.

Next week I will outline there different types of carbon that is uses.

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