What is enamel?

Enamel or enameling is a coating technique in which glass is refined in powder form and then heated to considerably high temperatures around 750-850°C causing the material to melt and become somewhat fluid.

After cooling down, the material attaches to the surface it has been applied, hardens and becomes a smooth, durable, even scratch-resistant coating.

Some crude forms of enameling processes have been known to man since as early as the ancient Egyptian era. Mostly used for decorative, protective or preservation purposes, enameling has been applied to a wide variety of materials including metals, stone, other glass objects, and even ceramics.

Historical evidence suggests that many other ancient cultures other than ancient Egyptians, such as Ancient Greeks, Celts, Georgians, Chinese and middle age Europeans used the enameling process on a wide variety of materials and object.

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What is the
Purpose of Enameling?

Enamel coating provides a wide variety of industrial, chemical, mechanical and cosmetic advantages to the material it has been applied.

The most prominent advantage is that enamel coating prevents the material it was applied to interact with elements and any other chemical it may come into contact with. Since enamel itself is very chemically resistant, it finds many uses in industrial applications. Such as a protective coating to prevent any unwanted reactions between various materials or containers.

Enamel also creates a strong, resistant, durable surface that is visually smooth, usually bright. Colored enamel is not made from paint, but it’s made from various oxides or other forms of naturally colored pigments. This property alone makes the coloring properties of enamel very resistant to wear and tear and especially against UV light.

Enamel coating, blocking the applied material from interacting with elements has a very obvious, useful and practical benefit. Materials that are prone to oxidation such as carbon steel and cast iron can become impervious to rusting and easily withstand conditions that they’d oxidize without the coating prolonging their durability extensively as long as the coating is intact.

Therefore it can be said that humans have applied enameling to various materials either to increase their durability or improve their aesthetic properties or even to achieve both purposes.