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X-ray fluorescence (conventional and 3D) and scanning electron microscopy for the investigation of Portuguese polychrome glazed ceramics: Advances in the knowledge of the manufacturing techniques

X-ray fluorescence (conventional and 3D) and scanning electron microscopy for the investigation of Portuguese polychrome glazed ceramics: Advances in

X-ray fluorescence (conventional and 3D) and scanning electron microscopy for the investigation of Portuguese polychrome glazed ceramics: Advances in the knowledge of the manufacturing techniques  
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This work shows the first analytical results obtained by X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) (conventional and 3D) and Scanning Electron Microscopy with Energy Dispersive System (SEM-EDS) on original Portuguese ceramic pieces produced between the 16th and 18th centuries in Coimbra and Lisbon. Experts distinguished these productions based only on the color, texture and brightness, which originates mislabeling in some cases.Thanks to lateral and spatial resolution in the micrometer regime, the results obtained with μ-XRF were essential in determining the glaze and pigment thicknesses by monitoring the profile of the most abundant element in each “layer”. Furthermore, the dissemination of these elements throughout the glaze is different depending on the glaze composition, firing temperature and on the pigment itself. Hence, the crucial point of this investigation was to analyze and understand the interfaces color/glaze and glaze/ceramic support.Together with the XRF results, images captured by SEM and the corresponding semi-quantitative EDS data revealed different manufacturing processes used by the two production centers. Different capture modes were suitable to distinguish different crystals from the minerals that confer the color of the pigments used and to enhance the fact that some of them are very well spread through the glassy matrix, sustaining the theory of an evolved and careful procedure in the manufacturing process of the glaze.
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