Dartmouth Engineer - The Magazine of Thayer School of EngineeringDartmouth Engineer - The Magazine of Thayer School of Engineering

Random Walk: Raku Lab

Photograph by Karen Endicott.

During spring term, Professor Ulrike Wegst held an outdoor raku lab for ENGS 73: Materials Processing and Selection. A ceramics technique that dates from 16th-century Japan, raku is as much a science as an art. With help from Wegst, students heated their hand-molded glazed bowls to about 1000°C in a kiln set up behind Thayer. When the bowls glowed red-hot, the students transferred them from the kiln into a bucket filled with flaming materials and closed the lid on the bucket—subjecting the glaze to reduction where it came in contact with the flames and oxidation where it didn’t. “The result is a glaze with beautiful metallic luster in areas where reduction occurred and the color of the metal oxide in its absence,” says Wegst. “The unpredictable range in glaze colors that results, combined with crackling due to the considerable thermal stresses that develop in and between ware and glaze during the rapid cooling, offer a rich, aesthetic, and tangible illustration of materials science phenomena.”

Categories: Random Walk

Tags: arts, curriculum, faculty, students

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