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A crucible is a vessel used to melt metals, such as silver. Its shape and material make it extremely heat resistant and able to withstand high temperatures. In addition, it has excellent chemical stability and is resistant to acids and alkaline solutions. Crucibles are available in a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials, including graphite, ceramics, and aluminum. The type of crucible you choose depends on the size and melting point of your metals. You can also use a clay, stainless steel, or carbon fiber crucible.
This particular crucible is made of fused silica with clay bond, a design suited to high melting temperatures (
The slaggy encrustation on the interior suggests that the crucible was heated from above and covered with charcoal, as opposed to later crucibles with a lower rim which were poured into a cast or mold. The absence of any oxidation on the outer surfaces further indicates that this crucible was not heavily vitrified. It was therefore a good candidate for further investigation by means of a portable X-ray fluorescence spectrometer, but it is regrettable that permission was not granted to conduct more invasive analysis. Several XRF analyses of the spout and inner surface were performed, but the results should be interpreted with caution, as different metals will tend to appear enriched on the slag/dross surfaces depending on their vapour pressure and reactivity with the siliceous material (Dungworth 2000).