Publication: Ceramic Industry
Boston, MA, United States
Germans Perfect Steatite Insulator
The Germans have come into the market rather strongly with their steatite products. These resemble porcelain and are admiarable substitutes for it in many cases. They are sensitive to fire due to their very low viscosity near their vitrifying temperatures. This is especially true if they contain much clay. The production of a vitrified steatite product represents an accomplishment, especially if the cost can be maintained at or nearly that of porcelain thru quantity production. If properly fired, a steatite product may be the solution of stronger insulators. Unfortunately the forming of the large insulators depends also upon the development of a moldable plastic mixture and this means the introduction of clay with the concurrent sensitive firing characteristics of such a mixture mentioned above. The consistent producing, therefore, of a uniform vitreous steatite product as the Germans apparently are doing should be mentioned as a distinct accomplishment.
As a vitreous product, it has a higher electrical resistance at high temperatures than many other materials of the porcelain type. For this type of work it is not always necessary to have a vitreous support. This being the case, many non-vitreous materials are available that have high resistances at all temperatures. Steatite and fused quartz, however, stand out as vitreous material having high electrical resistance at elevated temperatures. Both are difficult to manufacture and this may limit their use.