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The Story of Glass is Awesome

The word glass is derived from the Teutonic term ‘glaza’
This word refers to greenish glass beads found in burial chambers of the Mesopotamians.

Glass is an inorganic product
It is formed from a mixture of silicon atoms and alkaline atoms such as sodium or potassium. There are many types of glass, but the most common type is soda lime silica (SLS) glass, which is made by heating a mixture of sand, soda ash, and limestone. Another popular type of glass is borosilicate glass (BSG), which has extra resistance to temperature changes and is often used for special applications such as laboratory equipment or resistant glazing.

How to Make Glass

Glass was founded by accident and its’ awesome tale dates to the second century. The oldest blueprint of glassmaking was discovered in the great Library of Nineveh, Iraq (Library of the Assyrian King, Ashurbanipal).

Ancient Ingredients on How to Produce Glass

  • 60 Parts Sand
  • 180 Parts Soda Ash (from Marine Plants)
  • 5 Parts Chalk/Limestone
  • Mix and place in Furnace Heated to 800-1600 degrees C

How to Produce Glass at Home

WARNING: do not try this at home – silica powder is extremely harmful when inhaled – always use proper safety equipment!

  • 49.11g Boric Acid
  • 47.73g Silica
  • 42.10g Sodium Carbonate
  • Amount makes 100g of glass
You really want to make glass, huh? Okay, I didn’t know we had a chemist in the audience. Click here for instructions on How to Make Glass at Home

Fire Up the Furnace To 800-1600 Degrees C

The raw materials must reach a particular energy level
When this is done, the glass becomes a cooled liquid. At this glass transition temperature, the molecules lose their ordered arrangement and become free to move around. As the liquid is cooled further, no crystallization takes place due to the electrons’ restricted movement. The solidification process occurs as the temperature drops below the transition temperature, and glass enters its cooled liquid nature.

Molten Glass
Removing impurities in the glass
It is then shaped into its’ desired form. The details of these production processes vary depending on the type of glass being produced. Different glass types are made with a high amount bearing of impurities, especially iron oxides, which affect their physical properties. When making low iron or extra clear glass, manufacturers bear in mind the water and honey-like dynamic viscosity of the molten liquid.

By reducing impurities in the glass, it helps reduce flow effects during observation from top to bottom. This process helps provide better visual sparkle on the outer parts of the glass.

History of Glass

200 BC – 79 AD
Syrian craftsmen are credited with the invention of glass blowing, which revolutionized the production of glass. Excavations in Herculaneum and Pompeii have revealed a wide variety of glass objects including panes for windows, walled hollow vessels, and various shapes made from bronze or wood surrounds.

79 AD The Glass Mosaics of Pompeii and Herculaneum

Sheet glass was found in Northern Alpine regions
The process or technique is called crown glass, which involved spinning a blob of molten glass at the end of a rod until it formed a flat round shape. This type of glass was used for building windows in churches and other buildings during the Middle Ages. Mastos vessels, claw beakers, and round shapes with horns were also popular utensils made from molten glass during this time.

The process of making glass involved melting it on a copper table
After the glass was poured onto the table it was then shaped into a pane. High demand for the product but also for this type of glass making process led to important production techniques being developed in the early 20th century.

1800 AD
Craftsmen came up with a new method for producing flat glass, leading to considerable improvement in its use for industrialization. Cutting and polishing techniques were also developed to reduce breakages.

1851 AD The Crystal Palace

Current Glass Manufacturing Processes:

Glass Ribbon
Emile Fourcault’s invention of the glass ribbon allowed for continuous rolling, creating a massive amount of glass in portions rather than individual sheets.

Two-Cooled Roller
Max Bicheroux’s vital discovery of a two-cooled roller continuous rolling mill further improved production. The construction of the Crystal Palace for the Great Exhibition in 1851 showcased this new machine-made glass.

Float Glass
Process involves pouring molten glass onto a bath of molten tin to create a uniform glass pane. The process involves pouring molten glass onto a shallow pool of tin forms, creating a smooth flat surface.

Glass Manufacturing
The glass is then passed through rollers to ensure equal thickness before it moves into a lehr oven for cooling and strengthening. This process takes 24 hours, 365 days a year in large manufacturing plants that require vast amounts of raw materials. However, its surface is prone to flaws that can lower glass strength. The tin side of a glass pane refers to the side that was in contact with the molten tin during the production process. Tin atoms on this side can cause surface flaws and reduce the typical size of flat glass.

Wired Glass
Molten glass is poured onto two smooth surfaces, forming two separate ribbons that are passed through metal rollers. As they are pressed together, a steel wired mesh is added between them to create texture and surface design. The process determines the thickness of each side of the wire mesh as well as its overall thickness.

Viscous Glass
The melt is heated to a high temperature range to achieve a liquid physical state before being poured into molds.

Common Household Glass Products

  • Windows for Buildings
  • Windshields and Mirrors for Automobiles
  • Display Screens for LCD/Phones/Smart Devices
  • Varieties of Glass

    Annealed Glass
    The first type of clear glass produced, followed by float glass, which is now the most widely used due to its flat surface and high quality. The glass procedure involves melting raw materials at high temperatures to produce different types of glasses such as mm glass, clear white glass, low iron glass, and brown tinted glass. Industrial processes are used to produce massive quantities of glasses up to 600 tons per day. To achieve high-quality glasses with the desired thickness and lower fe2o3 content, raw materials are carefully selected.

    Safety Glass
    Due to the awesome invention of the Ford Model T, new safety measures had to be in place for the US consumer. This glass that doesn’t break into sharp shards when it’s shattered. Annealed glass, on the other hand, breaks into large dagger-like shards, which can be a possible hazard. To overcome this problem and provide higher strength to the glass, a toughening process is used. This process induces residual stresses in the surface layer of the glass which increases its resistance to impact and thermal shock.

    Early Ford Automobile Model T 1900

    Gorilla Glass
    Fusion-drawn, chemically strengthened aluminosilicate glass. Gorilla Glass is used for phones, smart appliances, automotive glass. It is a three-layer hybrid laminate construction with a polyvinyl butyral middle ply. This makes Safety Glass 2 times tougher and offers better optics.

    Glass Insulation

    History and Manufacturing of Glass

    An Exhaustive Resource

    Study by: University of Salford Manchester
    Glass has been used for centuries for various purposes. The manufacturing of glass involves different methods and structures to create different glass types, such as cast glass, paper reviews glass, float glass, and heat-strengthened glass. These glasses differ in their durability and special properties.

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