Busted Tea cup saucer

Viewing 2 reply threads
  • Author
    Posts
    • #131811
      Lorna Ball
      Member

      We had a china tea cup saucer that suddenly busted the other day. It didn’t get bumped, there were no earthquakes, and the area where the tea cup and saucer were sitting have not been disturbed. Does anyone have any idea why this tea cup saucer would suddenly break? I was wondering if sudden changes in temperature would have anything to do with the breakage? (High Relative Humidity this summer around 54% with outside temperatures at 85F and air conditioner turned to keep the inside temperature about 73F).

    • #131813

      Ceramic often have powerful stresses trapped within the material. An area of weakness such as a small crack or chip can allow these to be released and a small dimensional change, e.g. from heat can be the final straw.

      Lighting can often be the culprit. Had the cup recently been moved? Had the lighting been changed? What is the difference between daytime and nighttime temperatures in that part of the museum? Was there any vibration from machinery nearby (e.g. workmen drilling in a nearby wall).

      Until something like this happens, its easy to forget or ignore how much stress an object is subjected to – for example from poor mounting or handling or, as in this case, its own construction.

      You may also find that repairing the saucer is not straightforward – when the ceramic breaks, the internal stresses may result in permanent deformation so the two parts will not join perfectly. If making the repair, please use a reversible adhesive such as Acryloid B72 (Paraloid B72 in the UK) in acetone, which is not stronger than the body of the ceramic.

    • #131812
      Lorna Ball
      Member

      Many thanks Helena for your wisdom! Greatly appreciated!

Viewing 2 reply threads
  • The forum ‘C2C Community Archives – 2012 through 2014’ is closed to new topics and replies.