Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 23.djvu/829

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
809
THE SAVINGS OF SCIENCE.

mulating at the rate of nearly 8,000,000 tons per annum, its bulk being some three times that of the iron from which it has been separated. It forms a heavy incumbrance to iron-masters, demanding the purchase of large tracts of land whereupon to deposit it, while the investment is, of course, wholly unremunerative. There are one or two exceptions to this rule, where the slag is tipped into the sea, and serves to form land for the works, and where some of the iron-works supply slag for the construction of breakwater and training walls. The quantity thus utilized, however, on the Tees is but about 600,000 tons per annum, forming only a small proportion of the whole yield of the district.

In early times, slag was broken up by hand, and used for road making, and it so continues to be used, where it can be had without a heavy cost for transport; but there is only a limited demand for this purpose. On the Continent, where stone is scarce, slag plays a prominent part in road-making, as in Silesia and other similarly situated districts. Another direction in which many attempts have been made to utilize slag, both at home and abroad, is to adapt it for constructive purposes, and various schemes have been devised for transforming the highly refractory slag into bricks, sand, and other materials for building.

It is also applied to the manufacture of artificial stone, and molded into chimney-pieces, window-heads, balustrading, and outside ornamental builders' work generally. The stone is composed of two and a half parts of finely pulverized slag, and two and a half parts of ground brick, to one part of Portland cement. The mixture is run into molds, and sets quickly, the articles being ready for the market in four or five days. Besides bricks and stone articles, the slag is used for making mortar, cement, and concrete. The mortar is a mixture of slag and common lime, the cement being composed of the same materials, with the addition of iron oxides.

Another useful purpose for which it has been successfully utilized is that of glass manufacture. The vitreous character of slag indicates a resemblance to glass in its composition. It does, in fact, contain the principal components of glass, but not in proper proportions, and those in which it is deficient have therefore to be added, with others which are not present. Bottles made of this slag by the Britten Patent Glass Company were shown at the Paris Exhibition in 1878, and received honorable mention.

Another application is to the manufacture of slag-wool. By the action of strong jets of steam, the slag is transformed into a fibrous whitish silicate cotton, which, being metallic, is incombustible, like asbestos. In the construction of new houses with Mansard-roofs, the space between the interior lath, or paneling, and the exterior covering of zinc, slate, or tin, is filled with this slag-wool, which protects from the rigor of frost in winter and the intense heat in summer. If in