Copper Staples and Other Conductive Materials

July 20, 2017

Our aim was to test the conductivity of material fused with glass.  Of course, many materials are conductive and some more than others.  We discussed a range of possible options such as aluminium foil, graphite powder, conductive paint (usually made with graphite powder and gum arabic, so possible to make yourself), conductive thread, copper powder, copper tape, copper wire and of course other metals such as silver, gold, platinum, etc.  

 

Fusing a copper wire between two sheets of glass proved to be a successful technique, therefore we expanded upon this to try copper paste, graphite powder and a graphite/gum arabic paste.  I had also brought some copper staples which I arranged underneath a sheet of Bullet Glass (a professional soda lime fusing glass) in varying states of order. The functionality of the staples as a device for fastening and their geometry were inherently technological and I wanted to test out this function with a more organic form.  

 

In the images I am laying the staples onto fire-proof paper that sits in the flat bed fusing kiln, protecting the surface of the kiln.  The glass is placed on top and the sheet is placed in the kiln overnight at a temperature of around 800ºC.

The results showed a beautiful blue-green oxidisation in the three more distributed forms and in the final mass, where the staples were more heavily grouped, the colouration was of a deep reddish brown. 

 

 

 

As a part of the workshop, Janis Meissner began developing a programme called Light Writer that causes LEDs to flash in varying hues depending on the colour of the glass that is touched and we used an early version of this to test the conductivity of the glass/staples combination.  In this image, you can see that by placing a hand over the glass, a red LED glows.

 

Images Credit: Justin Marshall

 

 

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