All About Glass

All About Glass

This is your resource for exploring various topics in glass: delve deeper with this collection of articles, multimedia, and virtual books all about glass. Content is frequently added to the area, so check back for new items. If you have a topic you'd like to see covered, send us your suggestion. If you have a specific question, Ask a Glass Question at our Rakow Research Library.

From a Broken Flask: Laminated Safety Glass
Article

Edouard Benedictus, a set and costume designer for a French theater, wanted to make glass safer. He was disturbed by reports of people being disfigured by broken windshield glass during automobile accidents. How could windshields be made less dangerous? He recalled a curious incident that had

The Precise Moment: Tempered Glass
Article

Glass breaks. But if it’s strengthened by thermal tempering, it breaks less easily and more safely. By 1920, architects and European car designers wanted more and more tempered glass—and in large sheets. Glassmakers could successfully temper only one sheet in ten. There’s a trick to tempering: heat

What is Glass?
Article

Glass is a rigid material formed by heating a mixture of dry materials to a viscous state, then cooling the ingredients fast enough to prevent a regular crystalline structure. As the glass cools, the atoms become locked in a disordered state like a liquid before they can form into the perfect %

Types of Glass
Article

Nearly all commercial glasses fall into one of six basic categories or types. These categories are based on chemical composition. Within each type, except for fused silica, there are numerous distinct compositions. Soda-lime glass is the most common (90% of glass made), and least expensive form of

Solarized Glass
Article

Certain types of colorless, transparent glasses, when exposed to sunlight for extended periods of time, develop a pink or pale purplish color. Bottles, insulators, and other objects having their color changed in this way are often called "desert glass," but the scientist prefers the term

Chemistry of Glass
Article

Thousands of different chemical compositions can be made into glass. Different formulas affect the mechanical, electrical, chemical, optical, and thermal properties of the glasses that are produced. There is no single chemical composition that characterizes all glass. Typical glass contains formers

Does Glass Flow?
Article

(No, It Doesn't Flow—read on for details) Early one spring morning in 1946, Clarence Hoke was holding forth in his chemistry class at West Side High School in Newark, New Jersey. "Glass is actually a liquid." the North Carolina native told us in his soft Southern tones. "You can

Mappae Clavicula
Article

The oldest of the Rakow Library’s holdings, this 12th-century Latin manuscript might best be described as a chemistry book for the medieval artist. The Mappae clavicula presents more than 200 recipes for making various substances used in art and craft. In these formulas, ingredients found in the

Chocolate and Glass: A Tasty Comparison
Article

Dr. Samuel R. Scholes established the first glass science program in the United States at New York State College of Ceramics, Alfred University, in 1932. He continued to be a leader in the field of glass science and technology at Alfred for over 40 years. In the essay below, he demonstrates his

Glass and the Space Orbiter
Article

The space shuttle has triple paned, optical-quality windows. Thirty-seven window panes in eleven different sizes and shapes are produced for each Orbiter. The %%fused%% %%silica%% outer panes of the forward windshields are designed to withstand high atmosphere reentry temperatures. The inner,