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Studio1056 – Materials & Finishing

Materials & Finishing

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Precious Metal Clay

Metal clay is a crafting medium consisting of very small particles of metal such as silver, gold, bronze, or copper mixed with an organic binder and water for use in making jewelry, beads and small sculptures. Originating in Japan in 1990, metal clay can be shaped just like any soft clay, by hand or using molds. After drying, the clay can be fired in a variety of ways such as in a kiln, with a handheld gas torch, or on a gas stove, depending on the type of clay and the metal in it. The binder burns away, leaving the pure sintered metal. Shrinkage of between 8% and 30% occurs (depending on the product used). Alloys such as bronze, sterling silver, and steel also are available.


The oxidation state, often called the oxidation number, is an indicator of the degree of oxidation of an atom in a chemical compound. The formal oxidation state is the hypothetical charge that an atom would have if all bonds to atoms of different elements were 100% ionic. Oxidation states are typically represented by integers, which can be positive, negative, or zero. In some cases, the average oxidation state of an element is a fraction, such as 8/3 for iron in magnetite (Fe3O4). The highest known oxidation state is +8 in the tetroxides (MO4) of ruthenium, xenon, osmium, iridium, hassium, plutonium, and curium, while the lowest known oxidation state is −4 for some elements in the carbon group. The possibility of +9 and +10 oxidation states in platinum group elements, especially iridium and platinum, is discussed in “The problem of oxidation state stabilisation and some regularities of a Periodic system of the elements” by Yurii M. Kiselev and Yurii D. Tretiyakov (Russ. Chem. Rev., 1999,68, 365-379) [1]

The increase in oxidation state of an atom through a chemical reaction is known as an oxidation; a decrease in oxidation state is known as a reduction. Such reactions involve the formal transfer of electrons, a net gain in electrons being a reduction and a net loss of electrons being an oxidation. For pure elements, the oxidation state is zero.

There are various methods for determining oxidation states/numbers.

In inorganic nomenclature the oxidation state is determined and expressed as an oxidation number represented by a Roman numeral placed after the element name.

In coordination chemistry, oxidation number is defined differently from oxidation state.


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