terracotta is non bio degradable

TERRACOTTA IS NOT BIODEGRADABLE!

Is terracotta biodegradable?
Will it blend with soil after you bury it?
Will it cause no side effects to the soil?
What will happen to it after a few 100 years?

Lets Answer these questions one at a time.
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NO, terracotta is non-biodegradable. We have this common misconception that, “because it is made out of mud, it has to be biodegradable!” But, no! It is not.
To discuss this further, we need to understand why terracotta which is made out of mud is non-biodegradable.
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First let’s understand the true meaning of “terracotta.”
Terracotta, terra cotta or terra-cotta (pronounced [ˌtɛrraˈkɔtta]; Italian: “baked earth”, from the Latin terra cocta.)
Firing, is a very crucial process of turning a clay object into a terracotta object.
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The very important point here is that after the firing process, the chemical composition of the clay changes almost mystically as if a phoenix would evolve out of it. Few note changes after firing as follows(also note the image attached):
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  • the clay becomes impervious to water and air (depending on the clay composition.)
  • change in crystal structure (know as quartz inversion) which makes the clay hard.
  • the once playable clay goes through an irreversible reaction and can never be reshaped again.
  • Also, the following step of vitrification finally hardens, tightens and leads to the glassification of the clay.
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Definitely not. Even after being crushed in fine particles, terracotta will not blend with the soil as an organic or natural ingredient.
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It will!
Now, because of the non-biodegradable nature of terracotta, it will not blend organically with the soil and hence will disturb the natural, organic properties of the soil. It could make the soil less fertile, deprive it of its nutrients, might dramatically reduce the water content of the soil, etc.
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Nothing will happen to the terracotta products even after multiple centuries. The changes in the chemical and the physical properties of the clay in the kiln after re-arrangement of crystal structure and vitrification makes the terracotta products immune to natural or biological degradation. This is the reason we keep finding ancient urns and potteries around the world at different excavation sites. Few of them are as follows:
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Please get back in case of queries or dispute at letstalk@kosherdesigns.in
(Blogging with an intention of mass education)

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