Monday 01 February 2021

And yet, this is what first-year geology students at UniLaSalle have experienced. The geochemistry of magmatic equilibria is often difficult for them to approach: it is not easy for young geology students to consider the chemistry of complex systems such as magmatic equilibria. They have discovered that the chemistry of ceramics and high-temperature glazes allows them to better understand the chemical issues at work in magmas: their viscosity or their meltability, their crystallizations according to temperatures or oxides, the equilibria according to the rates of silica and alumina... It is moreover this community of principles that founded the work of the ceramist Daniel de Montmollin when he described the 60 melting diagrams of stoneware glazes from the diagram of crystalline phases established by Osborn and Muan1 - a diagram used in geology in general and volcanology in particular.

The students enrolled in this opening option were accompanied by Laurent SALOMON, Potter and ceramist of the Oise region and Elsa OTTAVI-PUPIER, PhD, Associate professor in endogenous petrology and Director of Geosciences and Environment Training at UniLaSalle. They were able to approach the basics of magmatic petrology and phase diagrams, but also to develop their enamel recipes based on diagrams and molar calculations, weigh and mix raw materials and oxides, impose the mixtures on test tiles... and finally, thanks to the assistance of the Beauvaisis Art School where the tiles for their enamels were fired, to finally see the result of their work! Pedagogy is even more effective and attractive when it offers practice and implementation. It is often by doing and exercising knowledge, processes or gestures that we learn. This "Learning by doing" approach, at the heart of the pedagogy of this option, is present at all levels of skill acquisition in our engineering cycles.

The history of Beauvaisis is deeply marked by ceramics and the quality of the stoneware that made its fortune: a tradition that is still alive in industrial, artisanal and artistic use. The buttonhole of the country of Bray and its outcropping clays have made this territory a particularly rich place for geology. There is thus in this option "Ceramics and magmatic balances" a beautiful meeting between our heritage, our know-how and the earth sciences which fascinate us.

1] Phase Equilibrium Diagrams of Oxide Systems, vol. 1, published by the American Ceramic Society and the Orton Ceramic Foundation.

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