Glass is almost everywhere whether it is in windows, furniture, decorative objects, etc. Have you taken a minute to think what would happen if glass suddenly became unavailable? It would certainly change our lives in a big way. After asking ourselves this question, we decided to write an article about the manufacturing process of glass to help you understand how it is made.
The first thing to know is that the main ingredient of glass is sand, more precisely fused silica. The melting temperature of fused silica is at around 1 750 degrees Celsius and it would pose a manufacturing issue if fluxing elements such as potash or lime were not mixed with it. This mixture is then added to water and cullet, which is recycled glass, while following very precise proportions and heated to approximately 1 550 degrees Celsius. If it appears extremely hot to you, it is! In fact, it is one of the higher temperatures in the industrial sector.
The process used to create glass that can be used as part of a window is called ‘float’. During this process, molten glass is poured onto molten tin. The glass ribbon is then stretched and cooled as it is put on the planar surface of the liquid and it solidifies at around 500 degrees Celsius. The cooling part of ‘’float’’ concludes when glass is placed to cool in the open air. After it is cooled down, the edges are removed before it is cut into plates. Finally, it is laminated once it is out of the oven. The lamination technique consists of making the glass pass between metal rollers that give it its desired thickness and texture.
However, when the desired end result is unbreakable glass, the process is a little bit different. There are two ways to achieve this. The first one is to use the tempering technique which involves rapidly cooling the glass by blowing cold air on it to make its temperature drop from 600 degrees Celsius to 300 degrees Celsius in just a few seconds. The second one, know as ‘’layering’’, consists to connect two glass sheets with a plastic one. This technique allows glass to stay in place in case of breakage, thereby preventing complete breakage.
Other kinds of glass composites also exist and they serve specific purposes. For example, when lead is added to the initial glass mixture, it creates what we call crystal. Another example, which is well known among cooks is Pyrex. Pyrex is created by adding boron to the glass mixture during manufacturing and the end result is heat-resistant glass.
This concludes this article on the manufacturing process of glass. We hope that it made you aware of what needs to be done to create the various glass products we see and use everyday such as door glass, glass showers, Pyrex containers, windows, etc.