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kiln(kĭl, kĭln), furnace for firing pottery and enamels, for making brick, charcoal, lime, and cement, for roasting ores, and for drying various substances (e.g., lumber, chemicals). Kilns may be updraft or downdraft; round, conical, annular, or rectangular; arranged for intermittent or continuous firing; and of the muffle (double-wall) or direct-contact type, as required. Rotary kilns are much used in continuous processes, including cement manufacturing and the drying of granular materials. They consist of long tubes lying almost horizontally that are rotated slowly as heat is applied to the material being treated inside the tubes. The fuel used may be electricity, oil, gas, or coal. The temperature of firing and the length of time required depend on the design of the kiln and the type of material being fired.
A device or enclosure to provide thermal processing of an article or substance in a controlled temperature environment or atmosphere, often by direct firing, but occasionally by convection or radiation heat transfer. Kilns are used in many different industries, and the type of device called a kiln varies with the industry.
“Kiln” usually refers to an oven or furnace which operates at sufficiently high temperature to require that its walls be constructed of refractory materials. The distinction between a kiln and a furnace is often based more on the industry than on the design of the device. Generally the word “kiln” is used when referring to high-temperature treatment of nonmetallic materials such as in the ceramic, the cement, and the lime industries. When melting is involved as in steel manufacture, the term “furnace” is used, as in blast furnace and basic oxygen furnace.