Digitalfire Ceramic Glossary

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MDT is an acronym for Materials Definition Table. It is the materials database of Digitalfire Insight glaze chemistry software. It is called a table because Insight reads it into memory from an XML file at program startup and forms and internal data structure of material rows and oxide columns. It references these when calculating the oxide chemistry of recipes. The MDT stores material chemistry as formulas and formula weights. It does not matter whether the formulas are unified or not as stored in the table, Insight just needs to know the proportions of oxides numbers.

The Digitalfire Reference library has the ability to export a subset of its materials as an MDT file. This enables users to login and start with a general list (e.g. North America, Europe) and then add specific materials as needed. They can then download the collection as an MDT file and put that file in the Insight folder in the documents folder on their computer (where desktop Insight will see it the next time it starts up).

The XML text format of the MDT file is the product of evolution over the years. Earlier formats listed materials and oxides/amounts on separate lines without identifying tags. XML is a very flexible format that can embody relational and hierarchical structures along with attributes (you can open an MDT file using your text editor or word processor to see what the format looks like). Since most people do not need more than a couple of hundred materials in their library, materials never needed to be stored in a database, the text format was faster and more flexible.


Digitalfire Insight materials dialog window

Desktop Insight remembers materials (in its database) as formulas and their formula weights. From this it can calculate the LOI. Materials can have alternate names so they are more likely to be found in calculating recipes. This dialog provides tools for adding, editing, deleting, importing and exporting materials.

Desktop INSIGHT MDT dialog showing kaolin LOI

The LOI appears below the material name and alternative names (beside the weight). The formula that goes with that LOI is the bold numbers in the blanks beside the oxide names on the right.

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By Tony Hansen

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