Sometimes too much information only leads to confusion!
In contrast a student studying pottery making and ultimately wishing to make and fire his own glazes needs a much more detailed chemical approach.
The AnswersThese are the answers I gave him:-
1) A pottery glaze is a glassy coating applied to the surface of a ceramic to create a smooth, impervious, and decorative finish.
2) A pottery glaze is a mixture of ceramic materials which may often include minerals such as felspar and silica, a glass like component such as frit, clay as a suspending agent, and pigment as colouration. Many other minerals or oxides may also be used. These materials are finely ground in water to produce a glaze slip. Other organic and inorganic additives may at this stage be added to aid application. The slip is then applied to the ceramic body and fired to a sufficiently high temperature for the components to physically and chemically react to form a smooth glassy coating that bonds strongly to the body. Normally a temperature in excess of 1000C is required.
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More information on pottery making can be found at my website The PottersFriend