What are crucibles?
A crucible is a vessel in which metallic elements are melted to be cast into new objects or to create a new alloy. Crucibles are traditionally made from ceramic materials, which can withstand very high temperatures. The material of your crucible should always have a much higher melting point than that of the materials you are heating. They may also be made of steel or iron to melt softer metals such as aluminum and zinc because these metals melt at a temperature below that of the crucible material.
The earliest known crucibles were found in Eastern Europe and Iran, dating back to 6000 B.C. The metalworking process almost always begins with the casting or reshaping of metals using a crucible, and the original techniques remain largely unchanged from the last 8,000 years. Today, modern crucibles are commonly used in laboratories used to melt or burn solid chemicals over a burner.
What are crucibles used for?
Crucibles have been used for thousands of years to make alloys and cast metals. To melt metal inside of a crucible, the materials are placed inside and heated until they reach their melting point. You can make a new alloy by melting a combination of materials with other elements inside of the crucible. For example, rose gold is the result of heating gold and copper, and white gold is a combination of gold and silver. Melting down iron with carbon or silicon results in steel or silicon steel. The final resulting alloy often has increased strength and durability.
Melting down materials is also an effective way to reuse scrap materials. Metals are one of the world’s most recyclable materials because they can easily be cast into new objects or combined into new alloys.