Do we ever take the time to think about how important the simple things are in life? Glass for example, it’s everywhere and is enormously useful in our lives. From windows in our houses and transport. Try not to be annoyed when your window cracks or breaks however as there are professionals out there who can fix it up super quick like a Cheltenham Glazing company located at websites like https://actdirect.co.uk/services/emergency-glazing-cheltenham/. (imagine how much fun driving would be without a widescreen or visor), it can also be decorative and, most importantly, it makes wine and pint glasses. What’s actually in it?
No matter where you are glass is an incredible material. Glass is greatly improved with chemicals now but to start with it’s basically sand or its by product Silica dioxide, that’s quartz to you and me. It’s a relatively simple task to make. By heating up the sand it will turn into liquid. This liquid although incredibly hot is very easy to sculpt and form either by blowing, which is a tricky skill or by pouring it into moulds. This does take quite a time as you do need a very high temperature blast furnace to do it. Sticking some in a saucepan over the hob won’t do it in case you suddenly felt like making your own glassware. Not unless you own an oven that can got you up to 1700 centigrade not even Aga’s boast that ability. Also, if you did melt it, the stuff is dangerous and can cause extreme burning so best leave it to the trained professionals.
Amazingly once the sand has cooled down it has gone through an incredible change. It doesn’t return back to the yellow grit you had instead it, through the wonders of science, has transformed into a clear substance. The reason for that is that it is an amorphous solid. Before you get the dictionary or Google it I shall tell you what that is. It means it has both the properties of a liquid and a solid at the same time! Let that sink in a second. When you hold a solid glass in your hand it’s still part liquid as well, at the same time. Confused? The liquidy bit is what makes it see through. However, it is also “chemically inert” that means that when you put another liquid in it doesn’t react to it. It does the scientific equivalent of ignoring your drink and keeping itself to itself.
If you add more chemicals like boron oxide for example then the glass can be used in an oven, so not Boron at all but quite interesting. If you fancy some bullet proof glass in the conservatory then you need a glass sandwich with clear plastic as the filling. Remember we mentioned windscreens? The process here is where the liquid glass is chilled very quickly which actually makes it a lot harder. Not so good for the bugs that hit it at speed though. Glass, clearly useful stuff.