Glass is made of sand, soda ash and limestone. The most common types of glass are window panes, drinking glasses and bottles. Glass can be tinted to make it colorless or colored for decorative purposes.
Its durability makes it a popular material in construction as well as in artworks such as stained glass windows and sculptures. Glass is also used in the production of fiber optics, electronics, semiconductors and solar cells.
Types of window glass
Float glass has a neutral color when it is clear and it can be handled in its hot molten state. It is made by stretching molten glass across the surface of a bath of molten tin. Flat-panel glass has most of its thickness at one edge so that it can be bent into shapes like doors and windows.
Float glass was invented in 1903 by Dr. Otto Schott to prevent the contamination of different batches of glass due to their different melting points. The invention led to the creation of the flat-panel float process, which made it possible for manufacturers to produce larger panes of clear glass at a lower cost.
Float glass is used in the production of safety glass, laminated glass and most windows. Flat-panel window panes are composed of two layers of float glass with a vinyl layer between them. They have superior physical characteristics to conventional laminated or tempered glasses because they do not contain any synthetic resins or formaldehydes.
Laminated safety glass
This is composed of a sheet of float glass, an interlayer polymer and a second sheet of float glass. The interlayer helps prevent the entry of moisture, dust and other foreign matter into buildings as well as protects against thermal shock. It also acts as a cushion to protect against impact. Laminated safety glass was invented in 1927 by Otto Schott and is now used in almost all buildings, particularly for the protection of windows.
Laminated safety glass is typically 7 to 9 inches (18-22 cm) thick. The interlayer is usually a sheet of polyvinyl butyral that has been coated with an ultraviolet light absorber and sealed with silicone between two layers of float glass.
This has a high compression strength that reduces the risk of breakage and can be cut using simple tools. Tempered glass was invented by Dr. Otto Schott in 1903 and was originally known as 'safety glass'. Tempered glass is used in the production of windows, windshields and panels of electronic equipment.
Tempered glass is made by heating flat-panel float glass to about 500 degrees Celsius (930 degrees Fahrenheit), under high pressure in a bath of liquid tin.
When this cooled glass comes into contact with an object such as a hammer, a high level of compressive stress is created within the surface layer. This results in breakage that is both spread over a wide area and occurs suddenly, reducing the likelihood of injury.
Tempered glass has superior physical characteristics to conventional laminated or float glass because it does not contain any synthetic resins or formaldehydes. It also has a faster reaction speed, with thermal shock occurring within 5 seconds, compared to about 20 seconds for conventional glass.
It is used in the production of safety glass and vehicle windshields.
Solar control glass
This is made by coating clear float glass or flat-panel float glass with a light-absorbing material such as titanium dioxide.
Solar control glass has an array of transparent, semitransparent and opaque coatings that are applied to a laminated glass unit to improve its efficiency in blocking solar radiation and reducing heat transmission.
The opacity of the coating prevents solar gain from impairing a building's interior environment. Consequently, this form of glass is used in glazing systems such as skylights and for shading buildings from hot summer sun on sunny days.
Solar control glass has an open structure that does not contain any synthetic resins or binders that would discolor because of exposure to ultraviolet radiation. In addition, it reacts to changes in sunlight within a few minutes and has good light transmission of up to 90%.
It is used for high-grade glass in motor vehicle windshields and laminated safety or solar control glass in buildings such as office blocks.
This has a low compression strength but is flexible enough to be cut with simple tools. It was invented by Otto Schott in 1904 and is used for the production of safety glass, laminated glass and most windows.
Toughened or tempered glass is made by heating flat-panel float glass to about 500 degrees Celsius (930 degrees Fahrenheit) under high pressure in a bath of liquid tin. The glass cools rapidly after it has been quenched, which creates very fine compression stresses that offset the forces generated by impact between objects and windowpanes.
These stresses are not perfect, so tempered glass is brittle and can therefore shatter to pieces when struck by an object. Although tempered glass is not as strong as conventional safety glass, it still offers good resistance to breakage.
Toughened glass has excellent light transmission of up to 92%, high impact strength and resists scratching. It is used in the production of laminated safety or solar control glass for buildings and automotive windshields.
Types of drinking glass
These are used for drinking wine and other alcoholic beverages. They are usually made of clear glass, but can be decorated with enamel, engraving or painting to give them a distinctive appearance.
There are two basic shapes of wine glasses: stemmed and goblets, both can be made from clear or coloured glass. Stemmed glasses have their stems set directly into the bowl. Goblets often have a stem that is longer than the bowl so they rest on an upturned foot to support it. These types of drinking glass are also used for drinking water
These are similar to wine glasses, but they have smaller bowls that form a narrower top. They hold less liquid and are often shorter than other types of drinking glass. Cocktail glasses are usually made from clear or coloured glass and can be decorated in the same way as wine glasses. They can be used for drinking any type of drink, including water.
The shape of the beer glass, with its wide top and narrow bottom, was originally designed to promote sedimentation in the fermented brew. A thick base is required to support this type of drinking glass in case it is knocked over. Because of their large volume (often up to 1 litre or more), they are generally not used for wine or water.
Various forms of glassware have been designed for drinking certain beverages. For example, the tea-cup is shaped to facilitate hand-warming; jiggers are small measures with a spout that can be easily poured from; cordial glasses have a wide rim which helps prevent spilling; and champagne glasses have the traditional flute shape to improve the effervescence of the wine.
Glassware is made in a variety of colours, especially after 1750, when cheap glassmaking technologies became available. Glassblowing was developed by Neolithic peoples at least as early as 6000 BCE, but probably much earlier, during the Mesolithic.
The collins glass is a tall drinking glass that has the same diameter and shape of a C-glass but taller. The height can vary from 10–14 cm (3.9–5.5 in) and it is used for serving long drinks such as cola, whiskey, iced tea and most cocktails. It can also be used for water, juice or soda and is popular at bars.
The collins glass has a stem and foot like a wine glass which allows the drinker to hold it with both hands as they would with a normal drinking glass. It also has a wide mouth so ice can be placed in the bottom of it without fear of it falling out. The collins glass is sometimes called a tall highball.
Pint glasses are used for drinking beer and other malt beverages. They are usually cylindrical in shape, with a bulge near the bottom third and have a capacity of 0.568 L (20 US fl oz; 18 imp fl oz). Most pint glasses are manufactured to contain 20 fluid ounces (591 ml), although historically they were made larger, capable of holding up to a quart (946 ml).
Pint glasses are produced in several sizes: standard, long drink and nonstandard. The standard size is used for beers with an original gravity above 1.050 — that is, ales. The "long" pint glass holds 22 US fl oz (624 ml) and is used for beers that don't come in a can. It is also known as the "Imperial", "Non-Committal" or (in Australia) the "Middy".
The nonstandard pint glass holds 21 US fl oz, but is thinner than a standard pint glass. The German 500 ml beer bottle serves as an equivalent.
These are similar to a highball glass, but have a wider rim. They hold less liquid (up to 500 ml or 16 fl oz) than a highball glass and are often shorter too. These types of drinking glass can be used for drinking any type of drink, including water.
This type of drinking glass is taller than it is wide, with a narrow rim. They hold about 325 ml or 11 fl oz of liquid and are used for serving cocktails, soft drinks, juice and water. These types of drinking glass are usually made from clear or coloured glass and can be decorated in the same way as wine glasses.
These types of drinking glass are similar to champagne glasses but they taper slightly towards the top, giving them a more bulbous shape. They hold about 125 ml or 4 fl oz of liquid and are used for serving non-alcoholic beverages such as soft drinks or juice at parties, discos and other social events.
Cordial glasses have a short stem and a wide bowl. They hold about 50 ml or 1 3 fl oz of liquid and are used to serve cordials, liqueurs and other strong alcohol drinks. These types of drinking glass are usually made from clear or coloured glass and can be decorated in the same way as wine glasses.
These types of drinking glass have no stems. Shot glasses come in various sizes (5, 10 and 25 ml or 1, 2 and 4 fl oz) depending on the country in which they are used. The average shot glass holds about 20 ml or 0.7 fl oz of liquid but some people use them as dessert bowls
This type of drinking glass has a fluted bowl that tapers towards the top. It is used for serving champagne and other sparkling drinks because it concentrates the aroma of fizzy wine on the surface to allow it to be inhaled; this is known as 'rim time'.
These types of drinking glass are often made from clear or coloured glass and can be decorated in the same way as wine glasses.
Where would you buy the glass?
You can always grab some from a glass supply shop or you could look around your local area and find bottle banks. Just make sure the glasses have no cracks or chips first!
There are also people giving away their broken glass on freegle, but generally they want it for crafts such as mosaics.
Although the types of glass aren't as diverse as rock types, I've still been able to find a few different ones that are available for free in your area.
How do you get rid of ink on glass?
It's much easier to remove ink from glass then from ceramic or steel dinner plates. The first thing you want to do is scrape off any excess ink with a butter knife. Then, take a cloth and dip it in water and rub the ink mark until it disappears.
How do you remove tea stains on glass?
Tea doesn't seem to stain glasses as much as ceramic or steel plates but I've found that rubbing alcohol can be very effective for removing tea stains from glasses.
I also recommend cleaning the glasses as soon after they've been stained as possible. The longer you leave it, the harder it will be to remove the stains.
Do you have any more tips for cleaning glassware?
Use a lemon! Lemons are oxidising agents and work really well at removing grease marks from your kitchen utensils and are great for cleaning glasses. Just
rub the lemon all over your glasses and leave it for a few minutes, then rinse.
What kind of glasses should I use for this project?
The best is clear and colored crystal glass . These are the cheapest, but they usually have impurities which can affect the quality of your work. After that comes borosilicate glass (bicro) and after that soda lime glass. Soda lime is the cheapest and although it works really well, if you drop a borosilicate bead into it, it will shatter!
Many people use recycled bottles or jars to make their electroformed pieces but I've found that these are far too thin for this project. For best results, use clear or colored crystal glass.
Although there are many different types of glass, the list above shows you a good variety to get started with. You don't need so many types at first, but as your skills improve and projects become more complicated, you will find yourself wanting new colors and textures. So I recommend that you start off with just one or two different kinds and add more as you continue.