Looking at glass, one’s first thought certainly wouldn’t be that this clear, strong material would be made out of sand. But as it turns out, one of the most useful substances in the world is made out of just that: plus a couple of extra things.
The main ingredients in glass are sand, a soda like sodium bicarbonate, and lime from limestone. Sand contains silica, which is an element and is the most important thing in the glass-making process. The soda is mixed in with the sand to lower the point at which it melts, so the mixture doesn’t have to reach an extremely high temperature. The lime is added because it makes the glass insoluble in water.
These ingredients are mixed together, and heated in a furnace to around 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit. After it has been heated for a while (sometimes up to a day), the glass is a molten liquid and can be worked with. There are many different directions the glass can go at this point: it can become bottles, mirrors, windows, or even hand-blown figurines.
Bottles, jars and other similar things are usually made in a mold. The hot glass is poured in, and then cooled so it can harden. Glass windows and containers are often made in ‘forming machines’ powered by compressed air.
Glass may seem simple to make in theory, but in reality it is tricky. In order to make it, you need furnaces that can get to extremely high temperatures, as well as forming machines or molds. These can cost millions of dollars each. Most glass can be melted down and reformed easily-provided you have these expensive pieces of equipment.
Glass is an extremely important part of most people’s lives. It is in our cars, homes, and even medical equipment. It is incredible the simple things it is made of.
Post time: 05-25-2017