Caring For Black Silicon Carbide Kiln Shelves

Black silicon carbide kiln shelves are used to support ceramic and glass materials during the firing process, offering support to hold back high temperatures without cracking. When selecting and caring for kiln shelves it is important to remember a few considerations.

Conventional cordierite kiln shelves may warp under heavy loads and require frequent flipping/rotating to prevent sagging. High alumina shelves, while more dense than cordierite ones, still contain pores which need frequent washing in order to catch glaze drips and drip-out.


Silicon carbide kiln shelves provide many advantages, including superior temperature resistance and mechanical strength. Furthermore, their thinness and light weight makes them suitable for top-loading electric kilns; however, improper care must be taken otherwise they could become fragile over time. If you plan to incorporate silicon carbide kiln shelves into your electric kiln system, follow these tips in order to keep it safe and durable for its lifespan.

Black silicon carbide kiln shelves are an ideal choice for most ceramic and glass products, providing low density with exceptional mechanical strength to withstand stress from clay, glass, ceramics in an electric kiln.

To protect against damage, it’s crucial to regularly clean kiln shelves to remove any buildup of glaze or kiln wash from them and extend their lifespan while staying stable during firing process. Furthermore, keeping an optimal temperature setting for your kiln can prevent irreparable harm to it and its contents.

Black silicon carbide has many uses in ceramic and glass production, as well as supporting metalurgical components during sintering and heat treatment processes. Due to its excellent temperature resistance and thermal conductivity, it makes black silicon carbide an ideal material for these uses.

Silicon Carbide shelves are specifically engineered to be flat and resist warping. However, they’re not immune to some amount of flexing or pressure applied during loading of heavy pieces onto them – this could pose a warping risk if done too rapidly and unevenly. To minimize risk, ensure even loading and leave enough space between pieces when loading your kiln.

Contrasting cordierite shelves with hollow cores, which feature an internal bond matrix for extra strength and resistance against oxidation, nitride-bonded silicon carbide (sometimes known as Advancer) shelves are thicker and contain an internal bond matrix, making them stronger and more resistant against oxidation than their cordierite counterparts – yet weigh half as much! In fact, Advancer shelves can outshout traditional 1-in. thick cordierite shelves in both strength and thickness!

When using any kiln shelf, it is vitally important that when loading or unloading items it be made aware that any potential electrical shock could occur if this step is overlooked.

Warp Resistance

Black silicon carbide is an increasingly popular kiln shelf material due to its resistance to warping during rapid heating and cooling cycles, as well as its high temperature resistance – perfect for firing ceramic and glass products or the sintering of metal components.

To avoid sagging, select a shelf thickness that suits the temperature you will fire at. For instance, 1/2″ will suffice when firing at cone 6 temperatures but might be insufficient at higher temperatures such as cone 11.

Select shelves made from denser materials like Cordierite or High Alumina ceramic for increased weight capacity and reduced maintenance needs. They should withstand heavier loads without needing frequent flipping and rotation; however, since these porous shelves cannot withstand glaze drips or sticking, kiln washes must be applied periodically in order to keep glaze drips at bay and stop pottery from sticking onto them.

Nitride Bonded Silicon Carbide Shelves offer high resistance with minimal maintenance needs, making them the perfect option for your kiln shelves. Thicker yet stronger designs help reduce thermal mass while spending fewer BTU’s on heat transfer; plus these shelves have close to zero porosity making cleanup an easy process.

Black silicon carbide kiln shelves may be long-lived and durable, yet proper care must be taken in order to maximize their lifespan. This includes rotating and flipping them after every firing as well as scraping and grinding away any kiln wash residue with an angle grinder or diamond rubbing brick (aluminum oxide). Furthermore, when not in use it is advisable to store them somewhere clean and dry in order to prevent chemical reactions.

Black silicon carbide kiln shelves are an ideal choice for many different applications, including firing ceramic and glass products in pottery, sculpture, glass blowing and metallurgical industries. Their strength is enhanced by having an extremely low melting point making it suitable for high temperature firing applications; in addition, its chemical resistance helps safeguard both the kiln itself as well as what’s being fired inside it.

Temperature Resistance

Temperature resistance is key to the longevity of kiln shelves, particularly those used with electric kilns, where fast heating/cooling cycles may damage furniture quickly. To maximize shelf longevity, they must be capable of handling maximum operating temperatures as well as any fluctuations in temperature that might arise during firing cycles – particularly with electric kilns that use rapid heating/cooling cycles that shorten its lifespan significantly.

Black silicon carbide kiln shelves can be an ideal choice for electric kilns due to its ability to withstand high temperatures without warping or cracking, as well as its superior strength and durability. However, it’s essential that you understand their limitations so as to use them optimally within your specific kiln.

Black silicon carbide’s primary drawback is its limited electrical conductivity, due to the bond matrix and glassy oxide layer fired onto kiln shelves during manufacturing. This limitation makes regular cleaning of these furniture pieces and their contents vital, since otherwise any buildup of kiln wash or glaze residues could prevent electricity from passing freely through them and onto elements instead.

Advancer kiln shelves are an exception. Made from an advanced nitride-bonded silicon carbide composition that provides greater strength and thickness compared to standard cordierite shelves while remaining highly resistant to oxidation, Advancers weigh half or less than their cordierite counterparts and don’t sag or warp even after multiple firings under heavy loads – an ideal choice for gas, soda, or wood-fired kilns.

Advancer kiln shelves boast near-zero porosity, making glaze drips and other pieces release quickly from their shelf without needing kiln wash (although soda firings may require it). Plus, their thinness maximizes stacking space so more work can be fired per load!


Silicon carbide boasts the unique properties to maintain its load-bearing strength at higher temperatures than most ceramic materials, along with low thermal expansion and decreased creep potential, making it the ideal material for use as kiln furniture. At IPS Ceramics we offer several kinds of silicon carbide shelves designed specifically to your kiln’s use or firing style including traditional oxide-bonded cordierite shelves, high alumina clay shelves and nitride bonded silicon carbide shelves; just choose what best meets your needs when ordering!

Conventional, ram-pressed Silicon Carbide Kiln Shelves are still used by many potters firing to cones 8-11 with gas reduction, wood, salt or soda firings. These strong, reliable and durable shelves don’t weaken during shipping or handling and remain flat after repeated loading of heavy ware. Furthermore, electric kilns make perfect use of such shelves since they do not warp at high temperatures while remaining strong enough to support heavy loads without warping at higher temperatures.

Nitride-bonded silicon carbide shelves are 19 times stronger than cordierite, are lighter, and resistant to oxidation, making them an excellent option for wide range of firings and available both full size and half size shelves. Their thinness saves space in your kiln while helping reduce energy costs significantly compared with traditional ceramic materials, plus you won’t ever have to rotate them during a firing cycle if they sag!

These shelves are suitable for many ceramic applications, including sand casting, high fire glass and sculpture. Their low porosity makes them easy to keep clean; to prevent glaze drips from adhering to your kiln shelves we suggest applying a thin layer of kiln wash with a soft brush before leaving it dry completely; the protective qualities of kiln wash provide protection from permanent scarring in case there’s sudden glazing run or drip.

Please be aware that while nitride-bonded silicon carbide shelves do conduct electricity, they do not pose any safety risk under normal operating conditions in an electric kiln. We tested it extensively to make sure there were no risks involved with its use.

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