Porcelain enamels, also called Vitreous Enamelling, process of fusing a thin layer of glass to a metal object to prevent corrosion and enhance its beauty. Porcelain enamels iron is used extensively for such articles as kitchen pots and pans, bathtubs, refrigerators, chemical and food tanks, and equipment for meat markets. In architecture it serves as facing for buildings. Being a glass, porcelain enamels has the properties of glass: a hard surface, resistance to solution, corrosion, and scratching. Enamelware is usually quite resistant to acid and impact, but may crack if the base metal is deformed.
In general, base items consist of fabricated steel, iron castings such as bathtubs and stoves, or, for kitchenware, a good grade of low-carbon sheet iron formed in the shape of the utensil by pressing or drawing, by spinning, and by trimming, with handles, spouts, and ears welded in place.
The base items are cleaned by physical means such as sandblasting or by pickling in acid. Next a coating mixture of ground glass, clay, and water is applied and dried. The ware then is fired in a furnace. For cast-iron dry-process porcelain enamels, powdered glass is dusted over the hot ware; as it melts it forms a continuous layer of enamel. For wet-process porcelain enamels, a second liquid layer of cover enamel is applied.
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Enamel powder is a fabulous product which enables anyone to create enamelled jewellery designs with ease. These low temperature resin based enamel powders can be used on a wide range of surfaces from metal and glass, to wood and stone.
With its unique properties, enamel powder will harden at 150°c making it perfect for use with a conventional oven, with no need for a kiln.
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Brief description of Cobalt blue pigment:
It’s a cobalt oxide-aluminum oxide. Very costly and extraordinary stable pigment of pure blue colour discovered by Thénard in 1802. It is now the most important of the cobalt pigments. Although smalt, a pigment made from cobalt blue pigment glass has been known at least since the Middle Ages, the cobalt blue pigment established in the nineteenth century was a greatly improved one.
Example of use by artists:
A painting witnesses Renoir’s shifts from cobalt blue pigment to the new and more cheap artificial ultramarine
This painting was painted during the restless period in Renoir’s work. It is immediately apparent that the picture exhibits two distinct styles. The group of figures on the right is painted in a soft feathery style reminiscent of his work of the later 1870s, while the umbrellas and the couple on the left are painted in a harder manner with more distinct outlines and subdued steely colors. The exact date of the painting is not known, but it is generally accepted that it was worked on over a period of several years.
Notice how the fashions illustrated in the Umbrellas differs. The women in Renoir’s paintings are usually dressed in the latest styles. The dresses and hats worn by the figures at the right conform to a fashion that appeared in 1881 and which became popular in 1882. The vogue was superseded the following year by a more sever style of dress with simple straight lines. THe woman with the band-box is dressed in this latter style which was the height of fashion in 1885-6, but which had fallen out of favor by 1887.
Renoir appears to have changed his palette significantly between the two stages. Examination of the cross-sections has shown that in the earlier phase he used exclusively cobalt blue pigment, available from 1802, his habitual choice during the 1870’s and early 1880’s, but in finishing and revising the composition he used only artificial ultramarine which came in use in the 1870s.
This article comes from webexhibits edit released
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