FAQ’s Video – Advancer® Kiln Shelves with Marshall Browne

Some of you may know Marshall. He is the head technical person at Kilnshelf.com and president of Smith-Sharpe Fire Brick Supply… it’s safe to say he’s the “main guy” around here. In this video Marshall covers the advantages and development of Advancer® kiln shelves – and a variety of different applications they can be used for. He also discusses using kiln wash, firing with porcelain, shelf maintenance and why Advancer® kiln shelves cost more than other shelves.

How are ADVANCER® shelves made in comparison to conventional silicon carbide shelves?

Unlike conventional silicon carbide shelves that are made from a grainy, semi dry mix that is ram pressed into molds, ADVANCER® shelves are made from an extremely fine grained mix of silicon carbide that is slip cast into plaster molds and then high fired multiple times. The fine grained, tight structure of ADVANCER shelves is one of the key reasons why they stay flat and can be manufactured in thin cross sections with exceptional strength. All corners and edges are rounded to produce smooth surfaces for ease of handling and strength

What about using ADVANCER® shelves in a soda kiln?

ADVANCER® is often used in soda kilns. Clean-up of soda drips from the surface of the shelf is a breeze since the low porosity of ADVANCER does not allow the soda glass to get much of a grip on the shelf. Spraying or dumping soda into the kiln firebox and having it naturally disperse throughout the kiln is the preferred method of introducing soda into the kiln. Soda can also be introduced in a dry form when combined with whiting, with good results. We do not recommend spraying liquid soda solutions directly onto ADVANCER® shelves through a port hole, since this practice may lower the temperature enough to the point of soda contact to cause a significant temperature gradient across the shelf leading to cracking, thermal shock and failure.

I’ve heard that ADVANCER® shelves can explode if they get wet?

Due to the extremely low porosity (less than 1%) of ADVANCER® kiln shelves, it takes prolonged exposure to a direct and continuous moisture source such as rain, standing water from a floor or condensation to penetrate the shelf. Water is slow to get in, and once in it is slow to get out. Therefore a temperature controlled dry out schedule must be observed prior to taking the shelves to normal firing temperatures. Slow bisque firing is not adequate to insure complete moisture removal! If you know or suspect that your shelves have water in them, you must follow the dry-out schedule outlined in the Saint-Gobain Technical Bulletin Warning “Storing and Drying Requirements for ADVANCER® Refractory Components.” If you are uncertain about moisture exposure problems with your shelves, please don’t hesitate to contact us!

Why do ADVANCER® Shelves cost more than other shelves?

ADVANCER® shelves are a nearly handmade product. Composed of an advanced nitride-bonded silicon carbide formula, each shelf is slip cast in a series of custom molds with all corners and edges rounded to produce smooth surfaces for ease of handling. ADVANCER® shelves are dried slowly and carefully to remain flat. Once the shelves are dry, they are fired not once but twice in excess of 2500° F. All other shelves whether cordierite or conventional silicon carbide, are ram pressed and single fired. Unlike cordierite shelves ADVANCER® will not warp and at only 5/16” thick, they allow for more stacking space and reduced energy costs.