Turning Mined Quartz And Sodium Carbonate Into Glass

Glass is pretty amazing. It can give us protection but it can also be easily broken. The material it’s made out of is opaque in quality but when it turns to glass it becomes see-through. It is solid but it also has liquid properties. Glass is everywhere. From your mirror to your window to your prescription glasses. We use glass often if not all the time. It’s one of the first materials we’ve manipulated.

How is glass made? Quartz that is usually in the form of sand is heated to its melting point where it then transforms into a liquid state. It has to be at the temperature of about 2000 degrees Celsius. When it is cooled, it doesn’t revert back to it’s sand-like state. It becomes like a solid liquid which is transparent. Solid liquid means that it is a liquid but its molecules move so slowly that you won’t notice it move with the naked eye. If you look at glass panes from houses that are a hundred years old, you’ll notice wavy lines in the glass. That shows the slow movement of the glass molecules. When new, the glass would have no lines.

Glass is awesome because it’s cheap to make, easy to shape when melted, and it’s heat resistant. It also doesn’t react chemically with many substances. It’s great for storage purposes, especially for food. It’s also almost indefinitely recyclable.

The best way to make glass that’s more friendly to the environment is to mix quartz that’s in sand form with old glass that’s been used already. Sodium carbonate would be added to that along with calcium carbonate. All those are then put in an extremely hot furnace. The sodium carbonate helps make the melting point of the quartz and recycled glass lower so that it doesn’t require a lot of energy to run the furnace. The calcium carbonate makes the end product stable. The melted glass can then be put into moulds to make different glass products or it can poured out onto melted tin to make flat sheets of glass used for windows, doors, and mirrors. Glass can also be blown to make unique shapes. Companies like ALS Glass Works Brisbane use the glass produced for household applications like glass balustrades.

Coloured glass can be made by adding other chemicals to the main ingredients. To make it even more heat resistant, boron oxide is added to the melted sand. This heat resistant quality is perfect for making oven-proof kitchenware.