The Science of Ceramic Glaze Color

The colors we observe from surrounding objects are fascinating phenomena of their interaction with light. When a beam of light strikes an object, a portion of the light frequencies is absorbed by the object, whereas the unabsorbed wavelengths are reflected back to our eyes. The light receptors inside our eyes convey these messages to the brain, producing our perception of a color associated with the object.1,2 Light consists of a continuum of frequencies with corresponding wavelengths and energy levels. The relationship between energy and wavelength can be explained by the equation: E=hc⁄λ, in which λ is the wavelength value, E is the energy, c is the speed of light and h is Plank’s constant.3,4,5 The frequency value is reciprocally proportional to wavelength through the equation v=c⁄λ. (Figure 1a). As frequency increases for an incidence of light, shorter wavelengths are present with greater energy (Figure 1b).