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How is Glass Made?

Kundan Pandey Apr 23, 2019
Be it a computer monitor, television screen, mirror, window pane or office cabin, glass is used almost everywhere in our life. But what constitutes the basic ingredients in its making? Read on to know more about the process through which glass is made.
Glass is a substance that is formed by the fusion of various minerals. The ingredients are mixed together in a suitable proportion, and the entire setup is heated at very high temperatures. When this mixture cools down, it leads to the formation of a brittle, solid, and transparent material called glass.
Glass is widely used in construction units, manufacturing industries, and scientific researches, not to mention its immense popularity and usage in the home and lifestyle sector. In ancient times, man was a learner in the art of glass making, but today, he has evolved to be a master of this art.
Chemically speaking, glass is a liquid substance. However, at room temperature it is viscous, sticky, and exists in a solid state. If the temperature is gradually increased, it assumes a liquid or semi-solid form.
It is this characteristic that helps it to be molded into different shapes. There are various types of glass, like commercial or soda lime glass, lead glass, borosilicate glass, and glass fibers.

What is Used to Make Glass?

Mostly, glass is a mixture of large amounts of silica, sodium bicarbonate or potash, and limestone. Silica is a chemical compound with the formula SiO2 that is obtained from white sand or pulverized sandstone.
Limestone helps in stabilizing the mixture and increases the strength of the glass. It also makes the it more water-resistant. Silica, sand, and limestone are mixed together and fused at very high temperatures. Other substances or minerals are added to change the properties of glass like the color, reflectivity, and brilliance.
These three are the basic ingredients, and they are a must for the manufacturing of glass. It is not just that the mixing of the correct ingredients matters; temperature regulators and right cooling is a must to give the desired form to the design.
Firstly, the soda, silica, and limestone mixture is heated in big melting furnaces to appropriately 2,500ยบ F. Often, the duration of heating is extended for a day. The molten mixture is then cooled several hundred degrees, to a temperature at which it is suitable to work with.
In this phase, the glass is an orange-colored liquid. It is to be remembered that once it starts cooling, the mixture can rapidly turn into a solid mass, so it is necessary that before it turns into a solid lump, it is given the desired form.
This liquid mixture can be pressed, drawn, and rolled in this stage. After giving it shape, it is then put in an oven to complete the process of annealing.
Annealing is a special treatment administered to glass that removes any sort of stress from the surface. The glass is cooled to suitable temperatures in the process of annealing that gives it strength and endurance.

Utility Of Glass

Once the basic form of glass is put into place, it can then be molded into various commodities, as per the viscosity and composition of the mold. While glass can be put to industrial use, it can also be used domestically, such as sunglasses or even in the form of safety glasses.
Crockery is another popular use among households in terms of improving home decor and imparting a certain kind of style to the house. It is also used to decorate windows and doors with attractive paintings.
With the advancement in the technology there is a lot of research going on to improve the quality of glass products and make them more durable and strong.