crucible, vessel in which a substance is heated to a high temperature, as for fusing or calcining. The necessary properties of a crucible are that it maintain its mechanical strength and rigidity at high temperatures and that it not react in an undesirable way with its contents. Porcelain , iron, and platinum are used in the lab; graphite is usually used in industry, but firebrick is also used, especially when vessels of large capacity are needed. The chamber at the bottom of a metal-refining furnace, where the molten metal collects to be drawn off, is known as a crucible.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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