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Ionic-Exchange Mechanism in the Formation of Medieval Luster Decorations

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Analysis of medieval luster ceramics seems to indicate that the formation of luster layers could involve an ion exchange between some alkali ions of the glaze (Na+ and K+), and copper and silver cations of the luster raw paint during firing. However, because of the weathering shown by the medieval luster decorations analyzed, conclusive proof is difficult to obtain. A realistic reproduction of the luster decorations has been fabricated in order to follow the process of formation of the luster layer. This has been studied by optical microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, electron probe microanalysis, extended X-ray absorption fine structure, X-ray absorption near-edge structure, and the results give direct evidence that ion exchange and diffusion are the physical–chemical mechanisms responsible for the introduction of copper and silver into the glaze.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Departament de Física i Enginyeria Nuclear, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, 08860 Castelldefels, Spain 2: GRMT, Departament de Física, Universitat de Girona, 17071 Girona, Spain 3: Departament de Cristallografia i Mineralogia, Universitat de Barcelona, 08028 Barcelona, Spain 4: CCLRC Synchrotron Radiation Source—Daresbury Laboratory, Warrington WA4 4AD, U.K. 5: Departament de Física Aplicada, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, 08860 Castelledefels, Spain

Publication date: May 1, 2005

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