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Element Contamination

Posted: Tue Apr 29, 2003 10:51 pm
by Mark Kemp
A representative of the company that made my kiln said my elements might be sagging because of what I use in the kiln. He said he talked to the makers of Kanthal element wire and was told that some materials as they volatize in the heat of the kiln can sort of soak into the elements themselves, changing their characteristics. Have any of you heard of this? I don't think I'm using anything unusual.

Posted: Tue Apr 29, 2003 11:13 pm
by Ron Coleman
Kanthal is used in some nasty environments like ceramic kilns, and I wouldn't consider a glass kiln a nasty environment by any stretch. Unless you use a lot of nasty chemicals along with your glass there shouldn't be a problem with Kanthal.

If your elements are in the lid, the main reason they sag is that they are not supported properly. Elements do a lot of moving around between room temperature and red hot and need to be supported so they can move but not sag. There are a number of kiln designs that have problems with sagging elements. Check in the archives (old ).

I think your kiln representative would make a better baloney salesman.


Posted: Tue Apr 29, 2003 11:36 pm
by Brad Walker
I would agree with Ron.

That said, there are a number of contaminants that can impact elements. Most of these are more likely to happen in ceramic kilns than in glass kilns, and most result in degradation of the elements, not in causing the element to sag.

Here's a url that has some info about element contamination: ... ements.htm

Posted: Wed Apr 30, 2003 11:43 pm
by Mark Kemp
Thanks. I checked out the URL Brad gave -- I don't think I'm doing much of the things that might damage the elements, and they didn't show "carbuncles" or other signs of damage. I suspect the elements have been sagging becaue the channels in the firebrick were made a little too wide in places.