How Crown Lynn is made
During WW2 it became difficult to import crockery into the country so the Crown Lynn Factory near Auckland came to the rescue and became the official supplier for the military and railways.
Porcelain is a type of ceramic made from the raw mineral kaolin, a silicate based clay. Silicates contain silicon and oxygen atoms but kaolin also contains hydrogen and aluminum atoms. The atoms form sheets which are weakened when water is added which is why wet clay is easy to mould. When the mould is heated the water is evaporated off and the atoms in the clay rearrange themselves into strong and tightly bonded crystals.
Ceramics have been used since the Stone Age and are generally harder and more heat and corrosion resistant than metals; in fact, a ceramic knife will stay sharper for longer than a metal knife. The only drawback is that ceramics are more brittle and if you dropped the knife on the kitchen floor it would likely shatter.
It may be ancient method of making useful items like bowls but the science behind ceramics is leading us into the future. NASA’s space shuttles are covered in ceramic tiles which protect them from the enormous heat generated from flying through the Earth’s atmosphere. By exploring the ways the many different types of clays can be formed we can create brand new materials that could change the way we live our lives.