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Orton Test Cone Set
Pyrometric cones are a great way to make sure your kiln is firing properly. Cones are used in determining when a firing is complete, if the kiln provided enough heat, if there was a temperature difference in the kiln or if a problem occurred during the firing.
Cones are made from carefully controlled compositions. As they heat up, they bend downward. The final bending position is an indication of how much heat was absorbed.
After Pyrometric cones bend or deform, the angle of the cone’s tip can be measured (See Chart). The amount the tip bends can be related to the hands of a clock. The end point temperature is reached when the cone bends to a 90° angle, or bends enough to touch the kiln shelf. The tip of the cone will bend slowly at first, but as the kiln heats up, the cone bends more rapidly.
Our Pyrometric cone kit includes 4 cones for multiple firing schedules.
to download the cone firing schedules.
Set of 4:
1-7/16" x 7/8"
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Orton Test Cone Set
Behavior of Pyrometric Cones
Typically, it takes 15 to 25 minutes for a cone to bend once it starts. This depends on the cone number. The cone bends slowly at first but once it reaches the half-way point (3 o’clock), it bends quickly. When the cone tip reaches a point level with the base, it is considered properly fired. This is the point for which temperature equivalents are determined. Differences between a cone touching the shelf and a cone at the 4 o’clock position are small, usually 1 or 2 degrees.
Temperatures shown on the charts were determined under controlled firing conditions in electric kilns and an air atmosphere. Temperatures are shown for specific heating rates. These heating rates are for the last 100°C or 200°F of the firing. Different heating rates will change the equivalent temperature. The temperature will be higher for faster heating rates and lower for slower heating rates. Cone bending may also be affected by reducing atmospheres or those containing sulfur oxides. Orton recommends the use of Iron-Free cones for all reduction firings (cones 010-3). If a cone is heated too fast, the cone surface fuses and binders used to make cones form gases that bloat the cone. If cones are to be fired rapidly, they should be calcined (pre-fired) before use. Cones should be calcined to about 850°F (455°C) in an air atmosphere.
If a cone is soaked at a temperature near its equivalent temperature, it will continue to mature, form glass and bend. The time for the cone to bend depends on several factors and as a general rule, a 1 to 2 hour soak may be sufficient to deform the next higher cone number. A soak of 4 to 6 hours will be required to deform two higher (hotter) cones.