Published on December 5th, 2013 | Edited By: Jim Destefani
A couple of weeks ago, Eileen reported on how physics—specifically, fluid dynamics—applied to the question of what makes a teakettle whistle could one day help reduce unwanted noise from, for example, pipes in buildings or high-speed hand dryers.
This week, the focus is on a beverage many would argue is more fun than tea, and nearly as popular. According to a news release from the American Physical Society, scientists have gone to work to gain insight on the age-old phenomenon of copious amounts of foam spewing from “tapped” beer bottles.
The answer once again lies in the science of fluid dynamics—in this case, the phenomenon of cavitation. Researchers from Spain’s Carlos III University and France’s Université Pierre et Marie Curie presented their foamy findings on the topic at the recent annual meeting of APS’s Division of Fluid Dynamics and explain their results in the video above.
As it demonstrates (and as many of us have experienced first-hand), a sudden impact against a bottle’s mouth can cause the bubbly brew inside to spew all over the place. According to the APS news release, “back and forth movement of compression and expansion waves will cause bubbles to appear and quickly collapse. The team’s investigation of beer bottle–fluid interactions demonstrated that the cavitation-induced break-up of larger ‘mother’ bubbles creates clouds of very small carbonic gas ‘daughter bubbles,’ which grow and expand much faster than the larger mother-bubbles from which they split.”
It’s these smaller, faster-growing bubbles that give the foam buoyancy, and “buoyancy leads to the formation of plumes full of bubbles, whose shape resembles very much the mushrooms seen after powerful explosions,” lead researcher Javier Rodriguez-Rodriguez explains. “And here is what really makes the formation of foam so explosive: the larger the bubbles get, the faster they rise, and the other way around.”
The research may seem like a long way to go to explain what is basically a happy hour prank, but the researchers were earnest enough to focus a high-energy laser pulse inside a bottle of suds to produce the same results as “tapping.” Similarly, their findings might see more serious application wherever, for example, cavitation erosion is a materials issue. According to the APS news release, the results might also be applicable to explaining phenomena such as the sudden release of dissolved carbon dioxide from Lake Nyos in Cameroon that killed more than 1,700 people in 1986.
Maybe you’re content simply to amaze (or possibly bore) your friends with a scientific explanation of why beer “tapping” works so explosively well. If that’s the case, enjoy in moderation, store your suds properly, and stay thirsty, my friends.
Published on December 3rd, 2013 | Edited By: Jim Destefani
A couple months ago, we reported on MFG Day and the hold that 3D printing technology seems to have taken on the imaginations of many.
Similarly, the days following the Thanksgiving holiday in the US seem to have captured the attention of the mainstream media, mostly for a series of holiday-shopping-related “special” days: Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday.
For those of us who are a bit more technically oriented, General Electric, one of the world’s largest proponents of 3D printing, is now swinging the focus back to additive manufacturing technology with the first ever “3D on D3” (as in December 3rd, which happens to be today) special event on its Edison’s Desk research blog (see the screen capture above; credit: GE Research).
One way GE Research is celebrating is by giving away 3D printed holiday gifts designed by celebrities, web tech gurus, and athletes working in conjunction with its own engineers. Check out the available gifts, and learn how to try to get one using Twitter, here.
Working in conjunction with GrabCAD, the company also held a contest for a 3D, modernized redesign of Santa’s sleigh. Finalists were selected by GE engineers out of more than 50 entries. The video shows the judges discussing the merits of finalist designs and their reasons for selecting the winner. GE will be producing and giving away 200 Christmas tree ornaments based on the winning design. Once again, you’ll need to take to Twitter to try to get one.
3D on D3 may be all in fun and the spirit of the Holiday season, but GE is deadly serious about its commitment to additive manufacturing technology—by 2020, the company’s Aviation division expects to have produced more than 100,000 additive manufactured components for its latest aircraft engines. GE is also using 3D printing to produce medical device components and other parts. In this interview with additivemanufacturing.com, for example, Greg Morris explains the business decisions that led GE to commit to additive manufacturing in the new LEAP-1A engine. Morris is business development leader for additive manufacturing at GE Aviation, a position he took when he sold the company he founded, Morris Technologies, to GE in 2012. The company specialized in additive manufacturing.
By the way, we just got word that Morris will be speaking at the Ceramic Leadership Summit in April, focusing on innovation and business decisions that drive innovation and adoption of new manufacturing technologies. For a full lineup of the incredible CLS program, visit the website.
The National Science Foundation also has 3D on their minds today and published this online article about advances in additive manufacturing that trace back to NSF research projects.
Published on December 3rd, 2013 | Edited By: Eileen De Guire
We are looking for an associate editor to fill this chair!
ACerS is growing!
As a regular reader of CTT, you know there is a wealth of great news to tell about ceramic and glass materials, as well as trends in science, engineering, and business. More, it turns out, than two editors can tell. Add in the many new ways we have to get the word out, and we need another “hand on deck.”
What are we looking for? We are looking for an editor–science writer to write for Ceramic Tech Today, work with volunteer authors for the ACerS Bulletin magazine, and expand our web and electronic outreach through channels like LinkedIn, Twitter, Slideshare, etc. The new editor should have a nose for ferreting out news and trends in the materials science and engineering world and be knowledgeable in new and developing digital outreach opportunities.
Do these keyterms resonate with you or someone you know? Science writing, content marketing, digital content development, engineered ceramics, glass, materials science, materials engineering.
Published on December 3rd, 2013 | Edited By: Jim Destefani
Self-supporting ceramic nanogrid photocatalysts (SEM image, top, credit: P. Gouma/SUNY) may one day make scenes like this one, showing deployment of a containment boom at Pensacola, Fla., after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, a thing of the past. Lower image credit: P. Nichols/U.S. Navy via Wikimedia Commons.)
We’ve all seen video of cleanup efforts resulting from oil spills large and small, from the Gulf of Mexico to local streams. Typically, cleanup involves a painstaking “mop-up” process followed by weeks or months of rehab by armies of paid employees and volunteers to repair damage to the environment.
A new product from the laboratory of a ceramic scientist and currently being readied for production by a startup company could make cleanup as simple as throwing a net over the offending oil slick. Pelagia-Irene (Perena) Gouma, professor of materials science and engineering at State University of New York Stony Brook, led a team that created a novel copper tungsten oxide nanogrid photocatalyst. Activated by sunlight, the net breaks down spilled oil, leaving behind only biodegradable compounds.
“[This] is the first time that self-supported nanostructured catalysts have been shown to clean up petroleum-based hydrocarbons in water,” Gouma writes via email. “Our technology responds to visible light (as opposed to the UV-responding industrial catalysts), it does not rely on dispersed and loose nanostructures that need to be confined or retrieved after a cleaning step, and as an oxide catalytic system it is reusable and not consumed during use. The products of the hydrocarbons clean up/water remediation are innocuous and biofriendly.”
Gouma, director of SUNY’s Center for Nanomaterials and Sensor Development, says in a National Science Foundation news release that the invention “utilizes the whole solar spectrum and can work in water for a long time, which no existing photocatalyst can do now. Ours is a unique technology. When you shine light on these grids, they begin to work and can be used over and over again.” Ships could carry the nanogrid nets, and so be able to handle their own small spills, she adds.
According to Gouma, the self-assembling nanogrids form in a multistep process that involves a combination of templating and blend electrospinning. “Upon heating, metal clusters diffuse inside polymeric nanofibers, then turn into single-crystal nanowires, then oxidize to form metal oxide—ceramic—nanoparticles that are interconnected, like links in a chain,” she says in the news release.
Gouma envisions the nanogrid photocatalyst materials being used not only to clean up oil spills but to break down other environmental contaminants, such as water used in hydrofracturing extraction of natural gas. Applications exist for more mundane applications, too, such as, for example, at-home dry cleaning. “The dry cleaning process that we now use involves a lot of contaminants that have to be remediated and treated, such as benzene,” she says in the news release. “This could be a dry cleaning substitute that would be more environmentally friendly than current dry cleaning approaches.”
She imagines users simply laying the nanogrid over articles of clothing and exposing them to light to clean them. “You won’t need a washing machine, or chemicals, or even water,” she says.
Gouma and her team have two patents pending on the nanogrid technology and have launched a startup company to commercialize production. “We are focusing on scaling up further the nanomanufacturing process while optimizing the nanogrids’ composition and properties,” she writes via email. “[The nanogrids] are currently being produced in sheets several inches wide that can be directly applied to (and be recovered from) an oil spill in water.”
This is not the first time Gouma, an ACerS member since 1997 and recent winner of the Society’s Richard M. Fulrath Award, has made news on Ceramic Tech Today. Her work developing nanosensors for disease diagnosis has been featured both here and in the September 2012 ACerS Bulletin.
More than two-thirds of the energy from primary sources like oil and gas is lost through waste heat, according to scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Physical Measurement Techniques IPM (Freiburg, Germany). Thermoelectric modules can make use of part of that waste heat, and researchers at the institute have devised a way to produce half-Heusler alloys—some of the most efficient thermoelectric materials—in kilogram quantities. The alloys consist of a range of materials, including nickel, and are said to be more nickel being one, and are said to be more environmentally friendly than previous materials, possess good thermoelectric properties, and withstand high temperatures. Prototypes of a thermoelectric system devised by the scientists have already converted the waste heat from an automotive exhaust into up to 600 W of electrical power, according to a news release.
Researchers at Swinburne University of Technology (Australia) say they have developed a bio-inspired black silicon material that can kill bacteria at up to 450,000 cells per minute of exposure per square centimetre of available surface. The nanostructured material is etched to create long, narrow protrusions on its surface. Surfaces with similar features are common in the natural world—in particular, the scientists studied the wing surface of the Diplacodes bipunctata dragonfly, which features spike-like nano structures that kill both rod-shaped and spherical bacteria. The mechanical antibacterial effect is unrelated to surface chemical composition, and instead works by essentially impaling the bacteria on the nanostructures, the researchers say. The approach could enable development of a new generation of antibacterial nanomaterials that could be applied to medical implants and other surfaces, they add.
Scientists working on the US Defense Advanced Research Project Agency’s integrated Photonic Delay program have demonstrated low-signal-loss, microchip-scale integrated waveguides for photonic delay. The iPhoD program resulted in creation of a new class of photonic waveguides with losses lower than those of optical fiber devices. The new waveguides are built onto microchips; conventional fiber optic coils of the same delay length would be about the size of a small juice glass, according to DARPA. The waveguides also employ modern silicon processing techniques to achieve submicron precision and more efficient manufacturing, the agency says, resulting in a new component that is smaller and more precise than anything before in its class. Photonic delays are useful in military application ranging from small navigation sensors to wideband phased-array radar and communication antennas, the agency says.
Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have developed computational models for a polymer gel that would enable complex materials to regenerate themselves if damaged. Inspired by biological processes in species such as some amphibians, which can regenerate severed limbs, the team developed a hybrid material consisting of nanorods embedded in a polymer gel containing monomers and cross-linkers. When part of the gel is severed, the nanorods near the cut act as sensors and migrate to the new interface. Functionalized chains on one end of the nanorods keeps them localized at the interface, and sites along the rod’s surface trigger a polymerization reaction with the monomer and cross-linkers in the outer solution to repair the damage.
Typically, silicon photovoltaic cell manufacturers add a grid of thin silver lines to the cell via a screen-printing process to form the front contacts. A new design developed by researchers at the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory and solar startup TetraSun instead loads 50 μm wide copper electrodes on its front contacts in a way that prevents diffusion of the metal, which can degrade performance. The developers say the process exceeds the performance of traditional heterojunction cells without special equipment, complicated module assembly, or transparent conductive oxides. The copper electrodes are much less expensive than silver, and the process should lend itself to high-volume manufacturing, they add.
Published on December 2nd, 2013 | Edited By: Jim Destefani
(US Glass News Network) The European Union (EU) has completed a portion of its anti-subsidy investigation into imports of solar glass from China and says it will impose provisional duties of 17.1–42.1% on Chinese companies importing solar glass into the EU.
Saint-Gobain plans to spend €4 billion ($5.4 billion) on acquisitions through 2018 as part of a strategy to focus on high-growth, high-margin products. The company has since been hit by the economic slowdown in Europe. It has scrapped several of previously announced strategic targets through 2015, including annual sales growth goals, for which it did not set targets this time.
Global mining company Rio Tinto is expected to close its Gove (Australia) alumina refinery after ending talks with national and territory governments over securing gas supplies for the plant. The company says it will continue to work with the government and other stakeholders to assure the long-term future of its bauxite operations in the area.
(Refractories Window)Iluka Resources has cut 47 jobs at its South West operations as it continues to face weak demand for its mineral sands products. The company says the job losses came after more than a year of “soft demand” for its two main products, titanium dioxide and zircon.
GE Aviation will mass produce ceramic-matrix composite components for its LEAP aircraft engine in a new 170,000 ft2 facility in Asheville N.C. The company recently broke ground for the new plant, which is expected to house 340 employees within five years. Introduction of CMC components into the hot section of aircraft turbine engines represents a significant technology breakthrough for GE and the jet propulsion industry, the company says in a release. The components will consist of silicon carbide fibers in a ceramic matrix, and will be “manufactured through a highly sophisticated process and further enhanced with proprietary coatings,” according to the release. Production of CMC parts will begin with high-pressure turbine shrouds for the LEAP jet engine—the first application of CMC components in a commercial application.
Abakan Inc. recently announced completion of the first phase of its PComP nanocomposite coatings expansion strategy, which involved installing additional powder microencapsulation equipment to double throughput. The company next plans to add nanoparticle production equipment and sintering furnaces to expand production of the highly engineered materials to 18 tons per year. Future phases of the plan call for production increases to 60 and then 180 tons per year over the next twelve months. Abakan also plans to acquire up to 10 US-based thermal spray production businesses over the next three years to serve the growing oil and gas sector.
The transparent conductive film and glass markets will grow to $6.3 billion by 2024, according to a new report from Research and Markets. Market growth will be fueled mainly by tablets and increased penetration of touch-screen capability in mobile phones, although OLED lighting, organic photovoltaics, and dye-sensitized solar cells are also potentially large markets, the report says. It provides 10-year forecasts of unit sales or market value for mobile devices and smart phones, notebooks and touch notebooks, monitors and touch monitors, tablets, OLED lighting, organic photovoltaics, dye-sensitized solar cells, and electroluminescent displays. The publication also includes 10-year projections for several technologies, including ITO on glass and polymer, silver nanowires, carbon nanotubes, graphene, and more.
PPG Industries and Universal Display Corp. recently launched production of organic light-emitting diode materials at a plant in Barberton, Ohio. Owned and operated by PPG, the new site will support expanded development and production of Universal Display’s phosphorescent OLED materials. The materials are used to produce thin, energy-efficient display and lighting products for mobile device, television, and solid-state lighting applications. PPG is the exclusive manufacturer of Universal’s PHOLED emitter materials, which the companies say offer significant advantages over conventional OLED technologies. Opened by PPG in 1900, the Barberton plant produces a variety of specialty materials.
Anton Paar GmbH, a supplier of analytical instruments for density and concentration measurement, determination of dissolved carbon dioxide, rheology, and surface characterization, recently completed acquisition of CSM Instruments SA. The companies say CSM will continue to operate under its current name and at its present location in Peseux, Switzerland. CSM is a manufacturer of surface mechanical properties testing instruments, including indenters, tribometers, scratch testers, and coating thickness measurement equipment.
Published on November 27th, 2013 | Edited By: Eileen De Guire
I have a four-year old grandson named Daniel, and Daniel loves, loves, loves books. Both his parents are mathematicians, and his maternal grandparents are ceramic engineers. Suffice it to say, Daniel is a very smart guy (awfully cute, too) and probably thinks the nerdish elders in his life represent the middle of the bell curve.
In other words, he’s Larry Hench’s kind of kid.
Hench, a Distinguished Life Member of ACerS, is best known for discovering the 45S5 glass composition known worldwide as Bioglass. The glass promotes bone and tooth repair by bringing the chemical raw materials to the surface of the wound or damaged tooth, which allows the body’s internal handyman to bring just the “tools” for “rebuilding” the site from the inside. We’ve written recently about the glass in (or not in) GlaxoKlineSmith’s Repair & Protect toothpaste. He’s made significant contributions in many other areas of ceramic and glass science, too.
Hench, like my Daniel, is a very smart guy. When Hench’s grandchildren were old enough to enjoy story books, he was frustrated by the dearth of books that accurately relayed basic scientific principles and the common caricature portrayal of scientists as nerdy, absentminded goofballs.
So, he decided to do something to correct the situation and show how scientists and engineers contribute solutions to real human problems. A natural storyteller, Hench wrote a book for children about a boy named Daniel (great name) who is allergic to cats and cannot have one as a pet. Daniel has the good fortune to befriend Professor George, “a kindly and wise neighbor and bioengineer from the local university,” according to the Boing-Boing Foundation website. The good professor takes to his lab and builds a bionic cat for Daniel, whom they name Boing-Boing. B-B is remarkably life like—he purrs, is warm, has cat-like moves, and glowing feline eyes—all controlled by his computer guts. The cat even has fiber optic fur for recharging the belly batteries.
How the cat gets his name is part of the story, and I’m not providing any spoilers!
So far there are six books in the series, which is targeted at 6–8 year olds. Hench expanded the product line to include puzzles, workbooks, experiment kits, and other activities. He even has a prototype Boing-Boing that he has taken into classrooms.
Inquiring minds will want to know whether there are reviews. Yes, of course there are, and you can read them on the Foundation website or Amazon. The books can be purchased from both websites and run about $7 each.
Here is a sampling from the Foundation website:
“This one of a kind eccentric and intriguing picture book tells the story of Daniel who cannot have a pet because he is allergic to cats. Enter Professor George who is inspired by the challenge of creating a bionic cat. The right reader/listener will be mesmerized by this glimpse into the world of robot engineering.” —Parent’s Choice Magazine
“I think the book was cool! The cat’s fur was weird. I liked it when the cat said BOING-BOING! It was funny!! I hope you write a lot more books because they are funny to me! We’ll see ya! PS: Boing-Boing!!!!!” —Dianza S. (3rd grade)
“I think the story was awesome. It was so good I am going to give you some good ideas for a good Boing-Boing story…” —Tery L. (3rd grade)
“I liked the book because of how clearly you explained how the cat works. It was quite funny when the cat said “BOING-BOING”. I think that it was a good idea because it made me laugh!” —Janice P. (9 years old)
There are a few reviews on Amazon, too, but all are written by adults, so it’s hard to say how valuable they are!
Published on November 26th, 2013 | Edited By: Jim Destefani
Cross section through HotSmart plate shows core of microwave susceptor material and joint design. (Credit: J.J. Ramirez/HotSmart USA.)
As the US heads toward the Thanksgiving holiday, it seems appropriate to explore ways to keep our food warmer, longer. After all, the traditional Thanksgiving feast of turkey and all the trimmings has become the centerpiece of the day for many. (Along with, in many households, football.)
Enter Juan J. Ramirez. A former industrial engineer, Ramirez invented and patented a unique stay-hot dinnerware technology after losing his long-time job and suffering some health issues. “The idea came after I suffered a stroke and brain tumor surgery,” he explains in an email. “Well, the idea did not come because of the stroke, but because I lost my career of many years in manufacturing and I found myself unemployed and with lots of time available.”
Ramirez used that time to develop a line of dinnerware that, after only a minute in the microwave oven, will keep food in the center of the plate hot for more than 30 minutes. The rim of the plate, meanwhile, remains cool to the touch to minimize the chance of accidental burns.
Ramirez says HotSmart plates can be made using practically any ceramic material, from whiteware to bone china, and that “anybody making plates” would know the details of firing time and temperature. The trick is in the plates’ core of susceptor material, which absorbs microwave radiation and then releases the heat in a controlled manner. “It was about time the ceramic plate learned a few new tricks,” he jokes in the email, while the product’s website calls the patented technology “the only functional change to the ceramic plate in centuries.”
According to Ramirez, the microwave susceptor material is red earthenware with an addition of iron filings. “Red earthenware already contains iron oxide, which is a polar molecule,” he explains. The material absorbs microwave radiation, then releases it as heat in a controlled manner according to the Stefan-Boltzmann law, the product website says. (The photo above, credit J.J. Ramirez/HotSmart USA, shows the susceptor material and the top and bottom halves of a plate.)
Plate tops and bottoms are produced separately, then joined using an unspecified adhesive with the susceptor material sandwiched inside. According to Ramirez, any shrinkage or warpage that might result from firing is addressed by the plates’ design, which uses a conical joint. The product website says the design has proved durable in months of cycling between microwave and dishwasher.
Although they are not yet being mass produced, the plates and mugs are being marketed on Amazon. Ramirez says the products have “been received very well.” The plates have also been featured as a “Reader Invention of the Month” in Popular Science magazine.
According to the website, the dinnerware’s ability to keep food hot for extended periods of time may even offer health benefits for diabetics, bariatric surgery patients who must eat slowly, people trying to lose weight, and others who simply want to practice “mindful eating,” a way to reduce overeating that makes a practice of slow, deliberate dining. The website also calls HotSmart plates “the most hygienic plate in history,” because they lack the unglazed dry foot found in most dinnerware that “can absorb moisture and become a breeding ground for bacteria.”
Published on November 26th, 2013 | Edited By: Eileen De Guire
Ancient ceramic wine storage jars from Israel date back to 1,500 BC. A modern-era California winery has adopted ceramic bottles for its signature look. (Credit: Brandeis; Futurity CC license.)
As we approach the Thanksgiving weekend in the United States, we often pause to reflect that the nation’s first celebration of Thanksgiving dates back to the early 17th century when pilgrim immigrants and Native Americans came together to share a meal of gratitude.
By the time that historic meal took place, a banquet hall in the Canaanite region of northern Israel had already sat in ruins for more than 3,000 years. According to Brandeis assistant professor of classics, Andrew Koh, the hall site is remarkably pristine. More often than not thieves have ransacked a site, or a later civilization built has over it and destroyed some of it in the process. Thus, Koh and an international group of collaborators are getting an unprecedented glimpse into the banquet celebration practices of ancient Canaanites as they excavate the wine cellar of a palace that dates back to about 1,500 BC.
The wine cellar contains 40 ceramic jars about one meter tall. Each jar can hold a volume of about 50 liters. Initially, the team is focusing on chemical analysis of the organic residues (Koh’s specialization) to understand the winemaking craft of the era because, as Koh said in a phone interview, “Residue analysis is the [priority] because of the delicate nature of the evidence.” As a result, he says, “Ceramic research is lagging behind,” but the group intends to study the jars themselves eventually.
According to Koh, the jars are utilitarian and purely functional. “They are well-constructed but nothing special,” he says. However, they appear to be made from the same clay and fired in the same way, suggesting they were made for the palace by a single workshop, he adds.
Most likely, the wine would have been made in the vineyard regions of northern Israel where wine grapes are still grown today. The vineyards are far enough away that wine would have been transported to the palace in the jars. Koh said the 40 jars were mostly indistinguishable from one another, however, the rims varied slightly in groups. The archeologists speculate that the rims correspond to different batches or lots of wine. According to a press release, nothing is known about the purpose of the banquets, who hosted them, or why the palace was abandoned.
As the picture shows, the jars are tapered and do not have flat bottoms but are torpedo-shaped with thick points and were not intended to be moved often. Koh says they would have been pushed into a dirt floor for storage or supported by metal or wooden stands (none of which survive at this site). The team has collected sherds from the pointed ends for evaluation and petrography later on.
Over the millennia, the fundamentals of winemaking have remained unchanged—grapes, yeast, and time combined according to the vintner’s magic touch. Oenophiles relish the tasting experience and the sleuthing out of the grape’s experience on its way to becoming a wine. However, imbibers of Mer Soleil Vineryard’s Silver Chardonnay will not detect any “oakiness” in the wine because it is fermented in concrete tanks. Instead, it picks up a “minerally” flavor, according to a video on MSV’s website.
The wine is not only fermented in concrete tanks, it is distributed in ceramic bottles. MSV winemaker Charlie Wagner II, a third generation winemaker, got to thinking about ceramic bottles for wine after drinking a beer from a ceramic bottle. In an interview with Wines & Vines, he says, “After looking at this [beer bottle] for a over a year, it hit me that this bottle sort of resembled the concrete tanks that we use for our unoaked Silver Chardonnay.”
The ceramic bottle of Silver Chardonnay from Mer Soleil Vineyard that will grace my Thanksgiving table on Thursday. (Credit: ACerS.)
The winemaker worked with MKM, the German manufacturer of the inspirational beer bottle, to get the right color, right labeling process, and good enough strength. The color is customized to match the concrete color of the fermentors. Applying a label proved tricky. Pressure-sensitive labels did not adhere well to the bottle. Ultimately, they were unable to find an adhesive that would hold a label on a bottle in an ice bucket. Wagner says, “We scrapped the idea of paper labels and pursued silk screening, which had its own set of issues.” The largest issue was cracking of the bottles during secondary firing of the silk-screened design. Eventually, a low firing temperature paint was found, and MSV started bottling in ceramic.
The marketplace has responded well to the unique bottles, and MSV has grown from producing 1,000 cases in 2008 to 50,000 cases in 2011. There is a bit of a cost premium—35 to 40 cents per bottle—for the ceramic compared to glass, but, Wagner says, “ … we see it as a great investment due to the visual attention it receives as compared to its glass cousins. To me it feels like a more expensive bottle than it actually is.”
Ultimately, MSV’s ceramic bottles serve exactly the same purpose as the ancient Canaanite jars—they transport wine from the winery to the feast. There will be a bottle of Silver Chardonnay on my family’s Thanksgiving Day table as we celebrate our many blessings. I count you among them.