Drying of ceramics

An ACerS online course

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Learn about the drying process in ceramic manufacturing

InstructorDenis A. Brosnan, Ph.D., P.E.

Held 10:30 a.m. - noon ET, Monday's and Wednesday's from October 26 through December 9, 2020

Course description

Water is added to ceramic raw materials to activate plasticity and to achieve cohesion, thus allowing for forming the shape of the intended product. This water must be removed prior to the firing or sintering of the particulate mass. The water removal results in shrinkage of the formed part (ware), and the water must be removed at a sufficiently slow rate to prevent forming of cracks and other defects. The control of the drying rate involves the use of energy inputs and controlling evaporation at a rate that the parts can tolerate. The “tolerance” of ceramics is influenced by material characteristics, processing variables, and other factors that influence water and vapor migration rates from the internal areas of the formed part to the drying atmosphere. Fundamentally, ceramic dryers involve energy and mass transfer.

There are many types of dryers and the countercurrent airflow convection dryer is most frequently utilized with high production rates for ceramics. In technical and advanced ceramics of intricately shaped parts, microwave and radio frequency dryers are utilized. Other types of dryers are considered in the course to include spray dryers, airless dryers, and laboratory devices. All these dryers employ controls such that the maximum drying rate the parts can tolerate is not exceeded.

The control of dryers involves psychrometry of humid air mixtures, and “psychrometric charts” (sections of the water phase equilibrium diagram) are used. The charts allow for mixing of air volumes (such as heated air and ambient air) to be directed in the dryer, calculation of air volumes required for drying, and evaluation of dryer air utilization and thermal efficiency. Numerous examples are reviewed with students during the lectures.

For those involved in processing of ceramic products where drying is required, Drying of Ceramics explores the “why” and “how to control” elements of drying operations.

The course is divided into three units:

  • Unit 1: Overview of Drying and Dryers
  • Unit 2: Psychrometry and Dryer Control
  • Unit 3: Dryers, Dryer Control, and Future Developments

Who will benefit?

Drying of Ceramics is intended for practitioners of all educational backgrounds with concepts presented in easily understandable terms. This includes:

  • Manufacturing operators
  • Production supervisors
  • Managers, engineers, and scientists

What you'll learn

Students who complete the course will develop abilities to:

  • Control dryers in processing of ceramics
  • Understand and recognize sources of drying defects
  • Gain insight into how processing prior to drying influences scrap rates
  • Adjust dryers as required by changes in seasonal ambient weather and by changes in production rates (throughput)
  • Reduce cost of fuels used in preparation of make-up air for drying
  • Develop and maintain best practices in the laboratory (for those involved in product development)

Student resources

  • The book, Introduction to Drying of Ceramics by Brosnan and Robinson is provided with the course.
  • Students are encouraged to obtain a psychrometric app such as “Psychrometric Chart” by Modern Psychrometrics (a free app that works on an iPhone or iPad). This app has a maximum air temperature of 200oF/93oC, and it can be used to illustrate use of the chart.

Need to miss a lecture?

All lectures will be recorded, so even if you cannot attend the live lectures, you can still take the course using the recordings. They will be posted after each live lecture and include the very same video and audio content and personalized instructor feedback.

All lessons have assignments designed to make the material presented as relevant to your individual needs as possible.

Customized training

Looking for training customized to your company? Do you want a course taught privately to your employees? Call Customer Service at 614-890-4700 for details, or contact Kevin Thompson to learn about training benefits for our Corporate Partners.

For other questions about ACerS online courses, email customerservice@ceramics.org.

Instructor bio

Brosnan Photo 2019

Denis Brosnan, P.E., FACerS, is a ceramic engineer specializing in processing, characterizing, and improving ceramic products while developing a specialization in forensic analysis. He is currently a consultant working on mineral issues, failure analysis, and historic materials characterization.

He previously taught courses in drying and firing of ceramics at Clemson University, worked for more than 20 years in industrial positions in refractories and technical ceramics, and coauthored the book Introduction to Drying of Ceramics.

Brosnan received the A. F. Greaves-Walker Award from the Society in 2016 and retired as the Bishop Endowed Chair Emeritus from Clemson University.

Brosnan holds a Ph.D. in ceramic engineering from Iowa State University.

Course schedule

3 units, 30 hours of instruction

The course is taught live, online, Mondays and Wednesdays, 10:30 a.m.–Noon ET. The live format allows for questions and answers.

Register for the course below.

  • October 26 – December 9, 2020

Registration rates (per person)

Early bird rate (through September 28, 2020)Regular rate (after September 28, 2020)
Member, individual$935$1,035
Corporate partner
Corporate partner, Sapphire$885$985
Corporate partner, Diamond$835$935