22 Sep How is Glass Made?
Archeology suggests that glass has been used by humans since at least 3,500BC in Mesopotamia and Egypt. At this early time, glass was used to make jewellery such as beads or to adorn wealthy people as a representation of their status. In today’s world, glass is used in the most advanced technology and devices available to us.
There are two main ways that glass is created today. One is glass blowing, which is commonly used to create decorative glass and things such as bottles or wine glasses. The float glass method is the one that produces sheets of glass, such as windows and splashbacks. Read on to learn about how glass is made and how it has helped transform our society into what it is today.
All glass starts as raw materials, including sand and sodium carbonate. Materials such as colours or refining agents can be mixed in to alter the glass’s outcome. These materials are mixed and put into a furnace at approximately 1,500℃, creating molten glass. This process can take many hours, and the molten glass is heated at such a high temperature to eliminate any bubbles or imperfections that may show in the final product.
Once the molten glass has been heated sufficiently, the flow of molten glass is directed onto a flat surface, kind of like how water runs through a river bed, which is called a float bath. This float bath is usually made from tin. This is the start of the glass getting its shape because the float is flat and long, shaping the glass into sheets. A float bath can be as long as 60m!
After the molten glass has flowed onto the surface of the tin float bath, it is allowed to cool slowly. This process is done in what’s called a lehr. The gradual cooling minimises the potential for the glass to crack while it changes temperature because if this is done too quickly, there is the possibility that the glass will shatter.
The glass is now inspected for imperfections and is scrutinized for quality control before being cut. Once the glass has formed into the sheets and is cooled, it is cut down to size and shape ready for distribution. These sheets can be used for standard glass windows and doors, or this glass can be cut for bespoke and custom jobs.
At Australian IG, we make custom residential and commercial glass exteriors, windows, doors, and fixtures for our clients as well as glass splashbacks and shower screens. Reach out to us today to see what Australian IG can do for your business or home.