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Sodium, Carbonate (Soda Ash)

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Sodium Carbonate (Soda Ash) Na2CO3

Sodium carbonate, or SODA ASH, is a common glaze chemical for ceramics. Soda glaze produces a surface blush of color low firing, and becomes a unpredictable vapor at high temperatures. This unpredictability is valued by potters, since it produces a unique piece each time. Soda ash glazes provide an alternative to environmentally hazardous salt-firing, and produce only water vapor and carbon dioxide.

Soda ash is also used as a deflocculant, a substance that reduces viscosity. When mixed with a glaze or when soda ash vapor comes into contact with another glaze, it creates a thinning effect. This can be used to produce beautiful "drippy" glaze patterns. It can also ruin a carefully painted glaze, by causing it to run down the side of a piece and onto the kiln floor. Soda ash can be used to keep slips from thickening, as well.
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