Borax Deca Alternative

by جمعية رعاية أصحاب الحرف الصناعية واليدوية بالفرستق

   Farastak, Egypt

Project By

جمعية رعاية أصحاب الحرف الصناعية واليدوية "الفرستق"

Egypt

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The pottery makers in Farstak Village in Tanta are looking for a cost efficient method (s) , or materials to create a coating similar to the glaze used in pottery and ceramics. If you are a chemical engineer or a chemist, solve this challenge  Get a chance to win 15000  EGP provided by the Academy of Scientific Research and Technology to implement the proposed solution in collaboration with Association of industrial and handicraft owners of Tanta which support the pottery makers in Farastak village. Your solution shall improve the economic conditions of such makers and highlight Tanta as a main producer of pottery in Egypt and around the world!

Background:

Farastak village is known for the pottery and ceramics industry which is an inherited craft as almost all its inhabitants work in such industry for more than 30 years and depend on it economically. So Farastak is considered one of the largest producer of pottery in Egypt .Despite the availability of labor and the increase in pottery production, Farastak experiences many difficulties when it comes to buying the chemicals needed for glazing the ceramics products, where almost all the chemicals are imported thus the cost will be high. This causes several problems in the later stages of marketing and selling these products as their cost is also increased.

The Problem:

Large amounts of chemicals are imported to form the glaze of the ceramics in Egypt .Borax Deca-hydrate (known as Borax) has been an essential ingredient in ceramic glazes and porcelain (vitreous) enamels for centuries. This is because borates are used to initiate glass formation and reduce glass viscosity. In this way they help to form a smooth surface and reduce thermal expansion .This facilitates a good fit between the glaze and the item it covers. Borates also increase the luster of the products, enhance mechanical durability and resistance to chemicals, and help to dissolve coloring agents.

Ceramic industries are reluctant in the use of other chemical compounds such as metal oxides of Lead and chromium due to the high toxicity of lead and the environmental risks caused by the chromium .

Importing the Borax turned into a problem for pottery makers in Egypt as the cost became very high and not affordable by many. In consequence the ceramics and pottery produced will be expensive to compensate the charges.

 

The Challenge:

The challenge is to find alternative method(s) or materials to glaze potteries and ceramics in Farstak to give them the same luster formed when the borax is used in the glaze mixture. Thus make the products available in the markets with affordable cost and increase their competitive advantage. The solution should fulfill the following requirements:

  • Using eco-friendly methods or materials that don’t have hazardous effect on the environment in case of contamination

  • Giving the same luster and smooth surface

  • Suitable for gas pottery furnaces (kilns);

  • Can withstand heat ranging between (1000 C°  to 1200 C°)

  • Affordable methods or materials ( doesn’t exceed 8 LE for 1 kilo)

  • Taking into consideration workers safety standards: non toxic materials


Reward & Conditions:

A reward of 15,000 EGP provided by the Academy of Scientific Research and Technology will be provided to the best solution to implement it in collaboration with Association of industrial and handicraft owners of Tanta, in addition to, marketing services for the solution, according to the following conditions:

  1. The  solution should be provided as a research showing tested results. You will have an advantage if it was done by you, your team or a local entity using local materials.

  2. The reward will be given in installments, in accordance to milestones set by the innovator(s) according to their plan of action.

  3. As per our platform Terms and conditions, in case the intellectual property rights are not registered, the innovator should include the minimum details required to judge the technical validity and feasibility of the solution without full technical specifications.



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