Jul 27 2011

What is glass?

Category: Science


GlassGlass is a material that combines some of the properties of a solid (in the form of crystal) and some of the properties of a liquid. It is however, distinctly different from both. Glass is typically formed when crystalline materials are melted at high temperatures. When it cools the atoms become locked in a random condition before they can form back into their crystal structure. Glass has great inherent strength. It is only weakened by surface imperfections. Special tempering can minimize these surface flaws.

Materials used for Making Glass

Glass can be used to manufacture a wide variety of products. Three materials are often needed to create it.

Formers are the basic ingredients. Any chemical compound that can be melted and cooled into a glass is a former. Examples of formers include:

  • Silica or Sand
  • Anhydrous Boric Acid
  • Anhydrous Phosphoric Acid

Fluxes help formers melt at lower temperatures. Examples of fluxes include:

  • Soda Ash
  • Potash
  • Lithium Carbonate

Stabilizers combine with formers and fluxes to help maintain the finished glass and keep it solid. A few examples of stabilizers include:

  • Limestone
  • Litharge
  • Alumina
  • Magnesia
  • Barium Carbonate
  • Strontium Carbonate
  • Zinc Oxide
  • Zirconia

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