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The speed at which the temperature climbs during a firing is critical, especially during the first 600c of a biscuit firing, as it is during this period that most of the physical and chemical changes occur. Once 600c has been reached, the clay has changed to a permanent ceramic material. Continuation of the firing to a higher temperature increases both the strength and durability of the ware. Gloss firings do not usually require the initial slow firing rate needed for biscuit, but they offer an opportunity to vary the glaze through using a range of atmospheres and techniques, such as raku, oxidation and reduction.