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Entering a New Material into a Raw Material Database
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Placing a New Material into Matrix

When adding a new material into your system it should be placed in one of the four basic raw material databases categories of files - Fritts, Feldspars, Clays, Others. There may be more than one file for each category. They are usually organized on an alphabetical basis except for fritts which are collected under manufacturer's names. More...

If it is a material which you may want to access frequently then it should also be placed in the Local Materials database and perhaps in the Auto Materials file.

Check the Validity of the Data

Before commencing the input of the new material check to see that the data you have is the latest available and that it is accurate. Once entered into Matrix it is unlikely that you will be motivated to check the validity of the material at least in the immediate future.

Check the Nature of the Data (Data Type)

If the data for the material is a Unity Formula then a molecular weight will be provided. In many cases the values associated with the flux oxide content of the material will total one. If it is a clay then the Al2O3 value might be one.

The other data type is the % Analysis by Oxide Weight. In this case the list of values for each oxide will total 100.

Initiating the Process of Entering a New Raw Material

The process of entering a new material is initiated by clicking the Enter New button in the Raw Materials environment or by selecting the Enter New Material menu item. Fig.1

Fig.1 Initiating the entry of a new material into a Raw Material database

The Edit Raw Materials window appears containing a textboxes for each items of data to be entered from the keyboard.

There are also combo boxes for the choice of Data Type, Fill Oxides and Category.

Entering the % Weight Analysis

Fig.2 Entering the data for a new material in the Edit Raw Materials window.

Before entering data into this window check its validity.

We must determine whether the data we are entering is in the form of a Unity Formula or whether it is a % by Weight Analysis.

Take care with the typing in of entries and the choices made in the combo boxes.

Once entered and saved you may never be motivated to check this material again.

Fig.3The Material Exists warning

Start by typing in a unique name for the material.

If you use a name which has already been used for a material in one of your databases you will be alerted and asked if you want to continue. You would normally click the No button.

The Edit Material window would then close and you would be required to start again.

Entering Data % Analysis Data for "Pretend Feldsapar"

Fig.4 Entering data for Pretend Feldspar.

Fig.4 shows the commencement of entering a fictitious material called Pretend Feldspar.

The data we will work from is in the form of a list of oxides with values given as a % by weight for each oxide together with a value for Loss On Ignition (L.O.I) representing the % weight of materials which would be lost in the firing.

We also have the cost of the material per kilo.

Before typing in the values for each oxide

  • select Oxide % for the Data Type.
  • select KNO for Fill Oxide 1 as feldspars are primarily used to bring K2O and Na2O into a glaze.
  • select Nil for Fill Oxide 2
  • select Feldspar for the Catagory

When you have entered the numerical data into this window and CAREFULLY CHECKED IT click the Next button to move on to the next step.

Selecting the Oxides to be Unified in the Molecular Parts Formula

Fig.5 The Select Unity Format window

The Edit Raw Materials window disappears and the Select Unity Format window opens. Fig.5

The % analysis data entered in the previous window has now been converted into a molecular parts formula and we must choose the oxides which will be unified.


The convention for unity formula is to have the oxides which are categorized as fluxes unified unles the material is a clay in which case the formula is unified on Al2O3. If the material is neither a flux source or a clay you may choose which oxide(s) to unify. Zirconium Silicate is a material such as this where the oxides going into the melt are ZrO2 and SiO2. In this case the material's formula would be unified on ZrO2.

Actually the unity oxides selection will make no difference to the calculation of formula for recipes. When materials are unified they are simply easier to compare. In Matrix you can create whatever unity you wish in some of the material display to make comparing like materials easier.

For our Pretend Feldspar example I have clicked the Unify Fluxes button. I could also have individually click all of the flux oxides. I then click the Next button to move on to the next stage.

Selecting the Oxide Values to be Used in Matrix Formula Calculations

Fig.6 The Select Matrix Data window

The purpose of this stage is to indicate to Matrix which oxide values in the rraw material data you wish to have included in formula calculations.

Sometimes there are very small mol. parts of oxides in the full unity formula which you may not want to have included in calculations for convenience. An example of this would be in the case of a clay which has small amounts of flux oxides at an insignificant level.

When making a recipe from a formula it is easier not to have take trace oxides in clays into account.

The Select Matrix Data window (Fig.6) allows you to select the oxides you wish to have included in formula calculations. Matrix will scan the full unity formula (Fig.5) to determine which might be trace oxide and will only check the buttons of oxides it considers relevant. In our example the only trace is Fe2O3. If you are concerned with the accumulated amount of Iron Oxide in your recipe you might want to click this colourant on. Click the Next button to proceed to saving the material in a database.

Viewing the Data Prepared by Matrix Before Saving to a Database

Fig.7 The Material Display window

The Material Display window (Fig.7) now gives a complete summary of all the raw material data processed in each of the previous stages.

This is our chance to check the data carefully before finally saving the material.

If we find and error we can click the Change Data button to return to the Edit Data window to make changes.

If everything is OK we can click the
Save button.

The Save Material (Fig.8) window opens with the Local Materials database listed

Saving the Material in a Raw Material Database

The Pretend Feldspar material which we are entering is not present in any database - it is the first time it has been entered. We must therefore place this material in the Feldspars.rmt file.

Fig.8 The Save Material in Database window.

Click the Change Database button

Locate and open the Feldspars A-Z.rmt file which may be found in the Raw Materials folder.

The display now changes in the Save Material window listing the contents of Feldspars A-Z.rmt file

Fig.8 The Save Material in Database window ready to save

Matrix scans the file looking for a material with the same name.

If it finds one it will activate the Replace existing material button.

Otherwise the Add material to database button will be clicked. (Fig.9)

Click the Save button to complete the process saving "Pretend Feldspar" in the Feldspars A-Z.rmt file.

Confirmation that Pretend Feldspar has been Saved

This dialog will appear to confirm that the material you are entering has been saved in the database of your choice.

Copying Pretend Feldspar to the Local Materials.rmt File

If our Pretend Feldspar was a material which we expected to use frequently we should now copy it from the Feldspars A-Z.rmt file into our Local Materials.rmt file. Click here for an explanation of this process.

Follow these links for more information about:


Raw Materials
Overview | Raw Materials Databases | Materials File Structure | Sources of Raw Material Data | Entering a New Material | Changing an Existing Material's Data | Making a New Raw Materials Database | Find / Compare Materials Window | Database Table Window - Material Lists | Copying Materials Between Databases