What You May Not Know About Glass

by Damon Burton June 14, 2018

Glass is easily taken for granted. We see it everywhere and depend on it for many functions, but most of us don’t know much about it. Here are a few fun facts about glass:

  • Clear glass is not really clear – When you look at a piece of glass closely, you will notice that it has a hint of green. This is due to the iron content of the glass. To make a piece of glass look less greenish in hue, manufacturers lower its iron content to allow higher light transparency.
  • Most glass is tempered – Tempering is a process of making a piece of glass stronger and more durable. It is done by heating the glass in a tempering oven with the temperature topping 600 degrees Celsius. After, that, the gas is rapidly cooled in a process called quenching. The outer layer cools faster than the inner one, resulting in tension. This process makes the glass a lot stronger than its original form.
  • Acid makes frosted glass – You may have seen frosted glass on dinnerware (such as glasses) or on entry doors leading into offices. The frosting is done by treating the glass with hydrofluoric acid in a process called acid-etching.
  • Glass can be recycled indefinitely – Glass is a rare material that can be recycled repeatedly without losing its quality or purity. The recycling of glass helps conserve the resources used in its manufacturing, such as sand and limestone.
  • Glass-making is an old craft – Man-made glass dates back to about 4,000 years ago when the Mesopotamians discovered that they could make a transparent material by mixing sand, soda, and lime. However, Mother Nature has been making glass for countless years through natural events such as the eruption of volcanoes and lightning strikes.

Glass is everywhere. We see it in packaging (jars, bottles, etc.), tableware, windows, tables, lighting, computer screens, protective phone screens, car lights, optical glass, and wind turbines. Though you may not give glass much thought on a daily basis, it’s hard to imagine a world without it.

Damon Burton
Damon Burton