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What is a glass?

Glass is the non crystalline solid material. They are brittle and transparent. It is normally used for windows, bottles, and spectacles. Many glasses contain silica as their main components and glass former. Glass plays an important role in science and industry. Their chemical, physical, and optical properties make them suitable for applications such as; flat glass, container glass, optic and optoelectronics material, glass art, etc.

History of Glass
People had used naturally occurring glass, especially obsidian (the volcanic glass) before they learned how to make glass. Obsidian was used for production of knives, arrowheads, jewelry and money. The ancient Roman historian Pliny suggested that Phoenician merchants had made the first glass in the region of Syria around 5000BC. But according to the archaeological evidence, the first man made glass was in Eastern Mesopotamia and Egypt around 3500BC and the first glass vessels were made about 1500BC in Egypt and Mesopotamia. For the next 300 years, the glass industry was increased rapidly and then declined. In Mesopotamia it was revived in the 700BC and in Egypt in the 500s BC. For the next 500 years, Egypt, Syria and the other countries along the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea were centers for glass manufacturing. In the beginning it was very hard and slow to manufacture glass. Glass melting furnaces were small and the heat they produced was hardly enough to melt glass. But in the 1st century BC, Syrian craftsmen invented the blow pipe. This revolutionary discovery made glass production easier, faster and cheaper. Glass production flourished in the Roman Empire and spread from Italy to all countries under its rule. In 1000 AD the Egyptian city of Alexandria was the most important center of glass manufacture. Throughout Europe the miraculous art of making stained glass on churches and cathedrals across the continent reached its height in the finest Chatres and Conterbury cathedral windows produced in the 13th and 14th centuries. Mosaic Glass Modern glass originated in Alexandria during the Ptolemaic period, artisans created "mosaic glass" in which slices of colored glass were used to create decorative patterns. Glassblowing Glassblowing was invented during the 1st century BC by the glassmakers of Syria. Lead Crystal Glass During the 15th century in Venice, the first clear glass called cristallo was invented and then heavily exported. In 1675, glassmaker George Ravenscroft invented lead crystal glass by adding lead oxide to Venetian glass. Sheet Glass On March 25, 1902, Irving W Colburn patented the sheet glass drawing machine, making the mass production of glass for windows possible.

Glass jars and Bottles On August 2, 1904, a patent for a "glass shaping machine" was granted to Michael Owen. The immense production of bottles, jars, and other containers owes its inception to this invention.

Classifications of Glass
The classification of glass includes Soda lime, Lead glass, pressed glass, Depression glass, and studio glass. I. Soda lime This is the most common type of glass, and it is consider being the least expensive from the glass. In the 13th century it was first made in Venice, where the glass makers formed molten glass into elaborate shapes. This glass is not highly resistant to high temperatures or the sudden changes in the temperature and is not corrosive resistant too. II. Lead glass This glass is one among the classification of glass and it also called as lead glass, lead crystal, and crystal. This type of glass was first developed in Europe, during 17th century. The presence of lead oxide is in more percentage. This is more expensive than soda glass; it is more soft and brilliant. It is also used for insulating purposes or thermometer tubing, other than being used for artistic work. It is likely to have bubbles, which help while cutting, but it will not withstand high temperature or change in temperature. III. Pressed glass From the mold, pressed glass is made and it is comparatively less valuable than cut glass. It is easily identifiable by the mold line and less sharply faceted decoration. During Victorian years it got popular, particularly in US, France, Bohemia, and Sweden. IV. Depression glass This glass got popular during great depression, and was distributed free or at low cost along with food. Depression glass is produced with various colors and patterns. It is not of good quality, but seems to be highly collectable since 1960s. V. Studio Glass Dale chihuly and Harvey Littleton an artists in the US started Studio glass in the 50s and 60s. Since they started it became a field of artists, like painting or sculpture, but

the glass was produced in the factories before they started. As the glass was produced in the artists studio and it was appreciated as a piece of art.

Manufacturing Process of Glass


Step 1 - Batch mixing Glass is made of different ingredients in differing proportions depending on the desired end product, but most glass (except for some specialist glass) consists of all the "majors" mixed with small quantities of some of the minors. Thus the minors are weighed first in a special weighing hopper, and added to the majors with a little water. Water is necessary as in a very dry mix the fines can blow off the batch as it enters the furnace and clog up the furnace flues. The two tonne batch is then mixed for between two and three minutes in a rotary mixer, before being transported to a batch hopper, from which it is slowly fed into a furnace. The mix of raw materials is dependent on the type of glass desired. Window glass is made from 72% SiO2, 13% Na2CO3 and 12% CaCO3, while bottle glass has more SiO2 and less CaCO3. Crystal is made from 45% SiO2 and 44% PbO with 9% K2CO3, and pyrex (used for laboratory equipment and ovenwear because of its heat resistance) from 80% SiO2 and 12% B2O3. The remainder in each of these mixtures is made up of the various minors. Glass colour The choice of minors at this point determines the colour of the final product. Colour results from two factors: the oxidation state of the glass, and the specific colourant additives used. Glass oxidation is promoted by the addition of carbon, and the degree of oxidation is measured on an arbitrary scale known as the carbon number. Clear glass has a carbon number of zero, dark green glass is -28 and amber is -52. Other variations of colour are achieved through the action of coloured materials that act as dyes. For example, the iron (II) ions naturally present in sand results in the green tinge seen in clear glass, and this can be masked by the addition of selenium. Moreover, the amber and green colours of glass bottles are caused not only by the degree of oxidation, but also by the addition of iron chromite and an ironsand / saltcake mix respectively. As glass is fed continuously into the furnaces, each furnace has to be dedicated to producing glass of a particular recipe, and it takes 12-48 hours and a number of steps to alter the mix to change to producing a different type of glass of an acceptable standard. Step 2 - Batch melting The ingredients mixture is fed continuously into a furnace fired by natural gas, boosted by electricity when necessary. The glass is initially heated to 1400oC, then raised to 1540oC, at which temperature the mixture melts. The glass is then held above 1400oC while it is refined and CO2 and SO3 are evolved. When no more gases are evolved the liquid is ready to be formed into the desired endproduct. The furnaces are kept at these precise temperatures by a

cross-fired system which reduces heat loss and promotes a more even heat distribution in the molten glass.

Shaping plate glass This process is no longer carried out in New Zealand, but it was used by Pilkington in Whangarei until quite recently. The cooled, molten glass from the furnace flowed into an extension of the tank known as the drawing canal, where it cooled to 1000oC before being drawn up into a tower, the drawing tower, by dipping an iron grille into the glass, onto which the glass stuck. The 2.5 metre wide sheet of glass was drawn up into the tower by asbestos rollers, cooling as it rose. Plate glass can be made as thin as 2mm, with this thickness determined by the speed of its progress up the drawing tower - 2mm thick glass moves up at approximately 170 metres an hour, while the average is about 40 metres per hour. By the time the glass reaches the top of the tower it is ten metres above the molten glass, and only 280oC. On the top floor of the factory the glass is monitored to ensure its constant thickness, and then scored and snapped off by the break-off machine. The individual sheets

weigh 22kg, and are lifted by rubber suction pads and placed on a conveyor belt where they are cooled and have their rough edges snapped off, before being transported to the warehouse for storage. Molding glass containers Molten glass is removed from the furnace through forehearths (heated channels) where the glass is cooled to between 1100 and 1150oC, the exact temperature varying depending on the product to be formed. It is then fed into a forming machine where shears cut off weighed "gobs" of red-hot glass, one two or three at a time as required. These are molded in "sections" within the machine, held in the air for a short time to cool (to prevent them from losing their shape immediately) and transported to the annealing lehrs. The annealing lehrs are a further stage in the cooling process, where the bottles are reheated to 600oC and then slowly cooled to remove stress points and prevent the glass from becoming brittle. Finally the bottles are coated with a shiny, slippery spray-on coating that temporarily protects them from becoming scratched, and they are packed for delilvery to clients.

What is Flat Glass? Flat glass is the basic material that goes into end-products that we see (and see through) every day. It is used to make windscreens and windows for automobiles and transport, windows and faades for houses and buildings as well as in solar-energy equipements such as solar thermal panels and photovoltaic modules. It is also used, in much smaller quantities, for many other applications like interior fittings and decoration, furniture, "street furniture" (like bus stops for example), appliances and electronics, and others. Flat glass is glass manufactured in flat sheets and therefore it excludes bottles, containers, fibreglass, rods, and tubes, which form other glass industries. Depending on the manufacturing process used, flat glass comes either as float glass, sheet glass or rolled glass. Glass produced by way of the float process represents the overwhelming majority of the production. Modifications, both during and after the float process, are used to produce the main types of flat glass on the market today.

The Float Process Today, almost all flat glass is made by means of the float process in plants which operates continuously 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for uninterrupted periods of over 15 years. Flat glass is primarily made of raw materials like sand and soda-ash but also from recycled glass i.e. 'cullet'. Mixing recycled glass with raw materials allows a reduction of CO2 emissions from production and contributes to greater product sustainability.

Main stages of flat glass production

1) Sand, limestone, soda ash, dolomite, iron oxide and salt cake are mixed together with cullet in the batch plant. 2) The raw materials are then charged into a large furnace to be melted at 1600C. They combine, in a process of physical transformation to form molten glass.

3) A continuous ribbon of molten glass is fed out of the melting furnace onto the surface of an enclosed bath of molten tin at 1100 C. The molten glass literally floats on top of the tin, and as it flows along the surface of the tin bath away from the delivery canal it forms a ribbon of uniform thickness. Thickness is controlled by the speed at which solidifying glass ribbon is drawn off from the bath. 4) The glass is then lifted from the tin bath onto rollers to the annealing lehr to be cooled down. At this stage the internal stresses are released ensuring perfect flatness. 5) Once cooled down and solidified the glass goes to the cutting area where it is cut in large sheet of 'jumbo size' (63.21 meters) or 'cut-size' which are specific to customer orders, before being stacked for transportation. The float process produces glass sheets with a uniform thickness and perfectly smooth surfaces that need no further grinding or polishing. The resulting glass will then be further treated in various ways to incorporate one or several of the advanced technologies applied to flat glass today, depending on the end-product and application for which it is destined.

Sources: NSG Group (Float installation graph), AGC Glass Europe (Pictures) Main Types of Glass

Annealed glass Toughened glass Laminated glass Coated glass Mirrored glass Patterned glass Extra-Clear glass

Annealed Glass Annealed glass is the basic flat glass product that is the first result of the float process. It is the common glass that tends to break into large, jagged shards. It is used in some end products -often in double-glazed windows, for example. It is also the starting material that is turned into more advanced products through further processing such as laminating, toughening, coating, etc. Toughened Glass Toughened glass is treated to be far more resistant to breakage than simple annealed glass, and to break in a more predictable way when it does break, thus providing a major safety advantage in almost all of its applications.

Toughened glass is made from annealed glass treated with a thermal tempering process. A sheet of annealed glass is heated to above its "annealing point" of 600 C; its surfaces are then rapidly cooled while the inner portion of the glass remains hotter. The different cooling rates between the surface and the inside of the glass produces different physical properties, resulting in compressive stresses in the surface balanced by tensile stresses in the body of the glass. These counteracting stresses give toughened glass its increased mechanical resistance to breakage, and are also, when it does break, what cause it to produce regular, small, typically square fragments rather than long, dangerous shards that are far more likely to lead to injuries. Toughened glass also has an increased resistance to breakage as a result of stresses caused by different temperatures within a pane. Toughened glass has extremely broad application in products both for buildings and for automobiles and transport, as well as other areas. Car windshields and windows, glass portions of building faades, glass sliding doors and partitions in houses and offices, glass furniture such as table tops, and many other products typically use toughened glass. Products made from toughened glass often also incorporate other technologies, especially in the building and automotive and transport sectors. Laminated Glass Laminated glass is made of two or more layers of glass with one or more "interlayers" of polymeric material bonded between the glass layers. Laminated glass is produced using one of two methods: 1. Poly Vinyl Butyral (PVB) laminated glass is produced using heat and pressure to sandwich a thin layer of PVB between layers of glass. On occasion, other polymers such as Ethyl Vinyl Acetate (EVA) or Polyurethane (PU) are used. This is the most common method. 2. For special applications, Cast in Place (CIP) laminated glass is made by pouring a resin into the space between two sheets of glass that are held parallel and very close to each other. Laminated glass offers many advantages. Safety and security are the best-known of these -rather than shattering on impact, laminated glass is held together by the interlayer, reducing the safety hazard associated with shattered glass fragments, as well as, to some degree, the security risks associated with easy penetration. But the interlayer also provides a way to apply several other technologies and benefits, such as colouring, sound dampening, resistance to fire, ultraviolet filtering, and other technologies that can be embedded in or with the interlayer. Laminated glass is used extensively in building and housing products and in the automotive and transport industries. Most building faades and most car windscreens, for example, are made with laminated glass, usually with other technologies also incorporated.

Coated Surface coatings can be applied to glass to modify its appearance and give it many of the advanced characteristics and functions available in today's flat glass products, such as low maintenance, special reflection/transmission/absorption properties, scratch resistance, corrosion resistance, etc. Coatings are usually applied by controlled exposure of the glass surface to vapours, which bind to the glass forming a permanent coating. The coating process can be applied while the glass is still in the float line with the glass still warm, producing what is known as "hard-coated" glass. Alternatively, in the "off-line" or "vacuum" coating process, the vapour is applied to the cold glass surface in a vacuum vessel. Mirrored Glass To produce mirrored glass, a metal coating is applied to one side of the glass. The coating is generally made of silver, aluminium, gold or chrome. For simple mirrored glass, a fully reflective metal coating is applied and then sealed with a protective layer. To produce "one-way" mirrors, a much thinner metal coating is used, with no additional sealing or otherwise opaque layer. Mirrored glass is gaining a more prominent place in architecture, for important functional reasons as well as for the aesthetic effect. Patterned Patterned glass is flat glass whose surfaces display a regular pattern. The most common method for producing patterned glass is to pass heated glass (usually just after it exits the furnace where it is made) between rollers whose surfaces contain the negative relief of the desired pattern(s). Patterned glass is mostly used in internal decoration and internal architecture. Today, it is typically used for functional reasons, where light but not transparency is desired, and the patterns are accordingly subtle. However, it has also at times been fashionable as a design feature in itself, in such cases often displaying more prominent patterns. Extra-Clear glass Extra-clear glass is not the result of processing of annealed glass but instead a specific type of melted glass. Extra-clear glass differs from other types of glass by its basic raw material composition. In particular, this glass is made with a very low iron-content in order to minimize its sun reflection properties. It therefore lets as much light as possible through the glass. It is most particularly of use for solar-energy applications where it is important that the glass cover lets light through to reach the thermal tubes or photovoltaic cells. Anti-reflective properties can be further increased by applying a special coating on the low-iron glass. It can also be used in

windows or facades as it offers excellent clarity, which allows occupants to appreciate true colours and to enjoy unimpaired views. THE ROLE OF THE LABORATORY The laboratory is primarily involved in the determination of the mix of ingredients for each batch of glass. A small sample is taken from each batch and dissolved in hydroflouric acid and then analysed in an atomic absorption spectrophotometer to determine which elements it contains and their proportions. From this information, the relative masses of the other ingredients to be added is calculated, and a suitable mix made. As the composition of each batch of sand collected is slightly different (even when they were taken from very close areas in the Parengrenga) each batch is kept separate and requires a different mix of additives. ENVIRONMENTAL CONSIDERATIONS The only substances discharged into the environment as a result of this process are the CO2 and SO3 released during the batch melting process, and these gases are simply released through a tall plant stack. However, the glass industry is also working to support the environment by recycling its product. This lowers costs (as cullet is cheaper and easier to melt than silica) and prevents wastage. ACI NZGM have been involved with recycling to a small extent since they were estabilshed in 1922, and began using the yellow recycling bins throughout the country in 1973. These bins are now to be found everywhere between Stewart Island and Kaitaia, and on average 35% of all glass produced is recycled, providing 35 000 tonnes/year of cullet. More recently kerb-side collections have been instituted throughout the country to increase the level of glass recycling. The cullet thus collected is then used as a raw material in glass production making up anywhere between 10% (for clear glass) and 80% (for amber or green glass) of the final product. For this reason glass recycling is practised to a much greater extent by manufacturers of glass bottles than manufacturers of plate glass, as they produce a much greater volume of coloured glass.

Reference: http://www.glassforeurope.com/en/index.php http://inventors.about.com/od/gstartinventions/a/glass.htm http://www.historyofglass.com/