Glass frit

The word “frit” is Italian in origin and refers to ceramic mixtures that have been melted to form a glass and then crushed into a powder.

Glass frit is a type of pre-reacted raw material that can be used as-is or combined with other materials in a custom blend.

These frits are used in making such diverse products as decorating enamels, sanitaryware, refractories, electronic assemblies, specialty coatings, vitrified abrasives and traditional pottery glazes.

Confusingly, you might encounter the terms ceramic frit, glass frit, ceramic ink, and glass colors to describe enamels for decorating glass and ceramic surfaces.

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Vitreous Enamel Panel

General Description

Vitreous enamel panel offers a colourfast and maintenance free finish in an unlimited colour range. Deep and exotic colours peculiar to enamel can be freely selected, ranging from full gloss to satin.

Olympic Station

The vitreous enamel panel system provides a smooth protective coating which has the properties of glass while retaining the strength of steel. The hard surface provides a resistance to scratches, stains and all forms of graffiti.

No other finish provides graphics with the quality and durability inherent in vitreous enamel panel.

Resistant to extreme temperature changes, high humidity conditions, oil, grease and most chemicals.

Due to its light weight and ease of installation, economies can be attained when used as a facade/wall system on most projects.

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Porcelain Enamel frit Benefits

Porcelain enamel frit is an inorganic, glassy coating fused at high temperatures to form a mechanical and chemical bond with a metal substrate. The glass is permanently fused to pre-formed metal in a furnace under temperatures as high as 1550°F. Molten glass and red-hot metal are inseparably bonded to form a rock-hard finish, which will not scratch, rust, fade, or peel.

The main ingredient in porcelain enamel frit is a product called “frit.” There are literally hundreds of frit formulations. The most important basic ingredients include silica, borax, soda ash, fluorspar and sodium silica fluoride. There are numerous additives such as clays, electrolytes, and metal oxides to suspend the glass, provide the desired color, and enhance the properties such as heat resistance and bond.

Porcelain enamel frit can be made with many metals, including cast iron and aluminum. However, over 85% is used on steel.

The glass properties of the porcelain enamel frit finish make it superior to organic materials, such as paint. It is a hard, scratch-resistant coating that remains colorfast and glossy after years of use. It’s smooth, glassy finish cleans easily and is resistant to acidic and alkaline chemicals. Porcelain enamel frit is extremely heat resistant, generally able to withstand temperatures up to 1000°F.

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Shelburne Majolica Enamel

The Shelburne is a charming, traditional, wood burning stove, built entirely from cast iron, with attractive, embossed designs on the side of the stove. The majolica enamel finish adds a delightful shine to the stove, especially when lit.

The aesthetics of this stove may be traditional but the incorporated technology is very much up to date, including: double combustion, AirWash, and closed combustions capabilities. This stove would be a welcoming feature in any home.

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Ground Coat Enamel Frits

Enamels are glassy ceramic coatings applied to metals or to ceramics. Enamels can be applied to mild steel sheets fabricated in the shapes of plates, mugs, bowls, cook and serve ware and other cooking and eating utensils such as sauce pans or frying pans and pressure cookers, to give a surface that s both protective and decorative.

However, for the enamel to bond to the metal, the metal surface has to be cleaned thoroughly , etched in acid, and then washed thoroughly to remove all traces of acid, neutralised and dried before the ground (or primer) coat is applied, dried, and then baked on at temperatures ranging from 840 to 880 deg. The ground coat enamel is usually bluish-black to black in colour, and a 2nd coat of white or coloured (frit, mixed with colour) has to be applied, to give the products an attractive finish.

Enamelling on steel is also used for long-lasting outdoor signboards, grain silos, water tanks, and, in general, wherever steel has to be protected from water, wind, weather, or even from mineral acids! our ground coat enamel frit is probably the best manufactured, and easily as good as imported frits. Our economy ground coat frit is almost equally good.

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Porcelain Enamel Frit

Description

Enamel (or vitreous enamel or porcelain enamel in U.S.) is the colorful result of fusing powdered glass to a substrate by firing, usually between 750 and 850 degrees Celsius. The powder melts and flows and hardens to a smooth, durable vitreous coating on metal, glass or ceramic.

Synonyms

porcelain enamel frit, vitreous enamel, porcelain enamel, blue porcelain, white porcelain, paste porcelain, meissen porcelain, glaze, clay, glass, soapstone, lime,

Chemical Properties

1) Enamel powder often is applied as a paste, and may be transparent or opaque when fired; vitreous enamel can be applied to most metals. It has many excellent properties: it is smooth, hard, chemically resistant, durable, can assume brilliant, long-lasting colors, and cannot burn. Its disadvantages are its tendency to crack or shatter when the substrate is stressed or bent. Its durability has found it many functional applications: early 20th century advertising signs, interior oven walls, cooking pots, exterior walls of kitchen appliances, cast iron bathtubs, farm storage silos, and processing equipment such as chemical reactors and pharmaceutical chemical process tanks. Commercial structures such as gas stations, bus stations and even Lustron Houses had walls, ceilings and structural elements made of porcelain-enamel steel.

2) Color in enamel is obtained by the addition of various minerals, often metal oxides cobalt, praseodymium, iron, or neodymium. The last creates delicate shades ranging from pure violet through wine-red and warm gray. Enamel can be either transparent, opaque or opalescent (translucent), which is a variety that gains a milky opacity the longer it is fired. Different enamel colors cannot be mixed to make a new color, in the manner of paint. This produces tiny specks of both colors; although the eye can be tricked by grinding colors together to an extremely fine, flour-like, powder.

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Enamel frits for glass and ceramic decorating

Decorating Enamels Frits

Properly fired enamels form a permanent coating that provides scratch resistance, chemical durability, gloss and color, all at the desired levels. Figure 1 shows some examples of fired-on enamel decorations that use glass frit. Each enamel component plays a specific role in enabling proper application and firing.

Decorating enamels are composed of glass frit, ceramic pigments and an organic medium, which have been mixed together under high shear to attain a uniform dispersion. Figure 2 shows a three-roll mill, which is one type of machine used to accomplish this mixing and dispersion step. Enamels firts are carefully formulated to obtain the properties required for successful application, firing and in-service performance. Application methods range from manual to fully automated, and common techniques include screen printing, spraying, rolling or using pre-printed decals.

Enamels frits typically contain 10-15% of ceramic pigments by weight. These pigments belong to a class of complex oxide colorants, used as fine particles typically less than 8 microns in diameter. Pigments lend color to enamels and, barring unwanted reactions during firing, are inert particles suspended in a layer of glass formed by the frit component. For most decorations, this glass layer is transparent, and the enamel frits color results from the reflection of incident light from the surfaces of the opaque, colored pigment particles.

The medium is a liquid carrier into which the frit and pigments particles are dispersed, and enamels firts are typically 15-25% by weight medium. The medium enables the delivery and retention of the frit and pigment particles onto the substrate in the desired pattern. Once the firing process has started, the medium must completely burn out, leaving only the frit and pigment behind. Important medium properties include viscosity, surface tension, drying behavior, strength or adhesion, and burn-out temperature. Most mediums are blends themselves, containing additives to precisely tailor the properties listed previously to optimize the blending, application and firing of the enamel mixture.

Glass frit is usually more than 60% by weight in the unfired enamel mixture, comprising about 70-80% after firing. The frit particles soften and fuse during firing, creating a continuous glass layer bonded chemically and mechanically to the substrate. Pigment particles are dispersed inside this glass layer, and both pigment and glass contribute to the color of the decoration. Gloss level is directly related to the glass refractive index and the fired surface smoothness, while the ratio of frit to pigment is a factor too, with high pigment content leading to a matte appearance. Superficially, glass frit is a high-temperature “glue” that holds the pigment in place. In reality, proper frit selection is crucial because the frit properties profoundly influence both the enamel behavior during firing and the fired decoration properties.

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Classification and marking of direct enamel frit

Direct enamel frit are used for preparation of glazes on floor and wall tiles and other products of architectural, sanitary, utility and art ceramics. Frits are divided according to their characteristics and use into main groups, secondary groups and subgroups.

In agreement with this classification, the marking of direct enamel frit consists of two letters, a group of 5 digits and a letter at the end of the marking.

Letters specify the classification in the corresponding main group: the first letter indicates the use of the frit (C stands for ceramic), the second letter indicates the characteristics of the fired glaze which was prepared from the indicated frit.

In the following group of five digits, the first digit specifies the colour of the glaze. The next two digits indicate 1/10 of temperature in a hot-stage microscope, at which the pellet prepared from the milled frit has the shape of a hemisphere. The determined temperature is rounded off upwards or downwards within a range 200C (at a temperature over 10000C, the value 10000C is subtracted). Further digits indicates the use of the frit, the last digit indicates the serial number in the corresponding group or subgroup.

The letter at the end of the frit marking indicates the form in which the frit is being supplied.

Direct enamel frit are divided into the following main groups according to their use and visual characteristics:

direct enamel frit for preparation of glossy glazes – marking CL

direct enamel frit for preparation of semi-glossy glazes – markingCS

direct enamel frit for preparation of matte glazes – marking CM

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