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Institute of Archaeology

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Liam Richards

The Colours of Copper: The Effect of Temperature and Multivalent Ions on the Oxidation State of Copper in Ancient Glass

                                                               

Email:  l.richards.17@ucl.ac.uk
Section: Archaeological Science
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The Colours of Copper: The Effect of Temperature and Multivalent Ions on the Oxidation State of Copper in Ancient Glass

In the 1st millennium C.E., glass found in the Mediterranean and Europe was made in two stages. First, primary glass was made by mixing sand and flux, mainly natron, and melting it to produce a clear or slightly tinted glass. This glass was then traded and transported throughout the Mediterranean and Europe where glass colourants were added to produce different colours.

Copper has been used to colour glass from the beginning of glassmaking through to modern times. Copper commonly imparts a turquoise-blue colour in glass; however, a small set of glasses contains similar copper compositions to typical turquoise blue glasses, but have been identified as either dark green, green, colourless, and yellow green. This project seeks to identify how different melting temperatures and/or glass components may affect the oxidation state, and by extension the colour, and whether certain primary glass compositions were chosen to produce the desired colour.

Education 

 

  • B.S., Materials Science and Engineering, University of Arizona, 2017
  • MSc, Advanced Materials, University College London, 2018