How glass is made

How glass is made

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How glass is made it seems like a child's question but if you look closely, it is not trivial to tell how this process of creating a material that is the basis of many useful objects and also works of art of inestimable beauty occurs. Think of the stained glass windows of certain churches or some objects of modern and antique designs. Ancient, yes, because glass production is an ancient practice, many can testify to it archaeological remains which tell of how man had already learned to make glass several millennia ago and to use it to create objects that could have a function in practical life or an aesthetic purpose.

Although many have sprung up lately innovative materials, our life is still full of glass objects, just look around us to understand it. So let's go and see how glass is made. It is certainly not a trivial activity and there are various ways to go, a lot depends on what is available. An oven or charcoal barbecue?

How to make glass with a Charcoal Barbecue

If we are not equipped with an oven or a furnace, we can still produce the glass by preparing a charcoal barbecue which in some way acts as an oven. The great heat that we can produce with coal will be essential to turn silica sand into glass. You don't need particularly expensive materials or even specialized shops, we can make do with what you can buy from a normal hardware store. Let's start making a large barbecue with model dimensions standard "dome", then choosing the largest and most robust grid available to try to reach very high temperatures, those necessary to melt the silica sand.

To help us, we can "dilute" the sand with substances such as soda and / or lime borax che are used to lower the melting temperature of the sand. Next to the barbecue we prepare the equipment that we can use later to work the glass. A mold, for example, or a long tube if we want to blow it. In addition to all this it is essential to have a fire extinguisher at hand, for safety reasons, and always for safety, a large amount of loam or sand to smother the fire if necessary. This way of using the barbecue can be dangerous and you should take all possible precautions. For example, it is highly recommended to wear heavy oven gloves or mittens, a welder mask and a heavy apron, and other accessories that can protect us.

To make the glass you need at this point a vacuum cleaner with blower equipped with a long hose attached that must reach to blow directly into the vent on the bottom of the barbecue, without touching the main body of the grill. Also in the preparatory phase, we must line the inside of the barbecue with charcoal, filling it almost to the brim. Let's also put one cast iron pot with a lot of hard wood charcoal around which is the one that gives more heat.

The time has come ignite the coal and while we wait for it to warm up, we can start to start the vacuum cleaner to blow air on the coal. When high temperatures are reached and the glass is melted, to remove it and also to shape it, remember to use metal gear.

How to make glass with an oven

In this case we have more suitable equipment and we can proceed more quickly. Let's get some silica sand which is the primary ingredient for glass making, you can buy it online without spending too much. The best thing would be to find it free of ferrous elements in order not to risk that the color has to be contrasted with the addition of small amounts of manganese dioxide.

To lower the melting temperature also in this case we mix the sand with other substances such as sodium carbonate and calcium oxide and depending on the reason we are making the glass, we can also mix other ingredients such as the lead oxide, which provides brilliance to crystal glasses, in addition to the softness needed to cut glass more easily and lower the melting point. For glass lenses, it is better to add lanthanum oxide for its refractive properties.

Having obtained the optimal mixture for us, we proceed by placing it in a good crucible or in a heat-resistant support and let it melt. Just to get an idea to dissolve quartz sand without additives, you need to get one temperature of 2300 ° C. We shake the mixture to remove bubbles from the molten glass and shape it as we wish, with a mold and then let it cool

How glass is made: tips

To strengthen the glass obtained with these methods, we can rely on the annealing process, mainly aimed at removing any stress points which can form in the glass during cooling.
Other possible treatments include the addition of pieces of old crushed glass so that they can be recycled. In full green logic.

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Video: How Glass is Made part 1 (May 2022).