Glass: The Mysterious Material

Aug 7, 2017, 06:14 AM by Discount Auto Glass

Just about anywhere you look, you will see glass. This is because it is one of the most useful materials we have. It is transparent, strong and it doesn’t melt or react to chemicals. We use it for windows, jars, bottles, and, Discount Auto Glass’ personal favorite, automobiles.

For being a common material, glass is a mystery to many of us. Most people do not know exactly what glass is, what it is made from, or how it is made. At Discount Auto Glass, we are glass experts, so we can help make glass a little less mysterious.

What Is Glass?

Glass is an amorphous solid, meaning it is neither a liquid nor a solid. Rather, it has properties of both liquids and solids. It is rigid and has a set shape like a solid, but it has the chemical structure of a liquid.

scientist looking at microscopeThe molecules of a solid, such as ice, are arranged in a crystalline structure. If you put glass under a microscope, you would see the irregular and random chemical structure of a liquid.

So, in simple terms, glass is composed of disordered molecules which are rigidly bound.

From What is Glass Made?

Believe it or not, glass is made from sand. When sand is heated to extreme temperatures, it no longer resembles the grainy material which you find on the beach, but rather turns into a clear liquid.

How is Glass Made?

If glass is made from heated sand, then you can just boil some sand and make your own New Mexican desertglass, right? Wrong. Glass requires temperatures of 3090 degrees Fahrenheit to form. When the United States tested nuclear bombs in New Mexico in 1945, it turned the desert sand into glass. Thankfully, there are other, less dangerous ways to make glass.

Most of the time, glass is made in factories. The sand is mixed with waste glass, soda ash and limestone and then placed in a furnace. The soda ash greatly reduces the sand’s melting point, but makes the glass dissolve in water. The limestone reverses this effect and solidifies the glass so it will not dissolve.

Once the mixture is melted and turned into a liquid, it is poured into molds where it cools and solidifies into the glass which we know.

How is Auto Glass Made?

Sometimes, other materials are added into glass or it is made in a different manner to change its properties or give it more strength. Auto glass is one of these types of glass. There are two types of auto glass: laminated and tempered.

Laminated glass is made by placing a layer of polyvinyl butyral (PVB) between two pieces of glass. The glass is then chemically and physically bonded to the PVB. The PVB makes the glass around ten times stronger and allows it to absorb energy upon impact rather than breaking. It does not shatter into pieces, but cracks first. This gives you time to get it fixed rather than having no windshield at all.

car windshieldTempered glass is the other type of auto glass. This is used in vehicle windows. Tempered glass is heated and then rapidly cooled by going through a series of blowers. This makes the glass expand and then rapidly contract, which makes the bonds and the glass stronger. Tempered glass keeps your windows from breaking when you hit a pothole or if you are in an accident.

At Discount Auto Glass, we are your glass experts. We can take appointments at one of our eight locations throughout Arkansas and our one location in Joplin, Missouri, or we can come to you at no additional cost. Give us a call at 501-377-9575 or use our online form to get a quote.

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