Glass is a uniform material
of arguable phase usually produced when the viscous molten material cools
very rapidly to below its glass transition temperature, without sufficient
time for a regular crystal lattice to form. The most familiar form of glass
is the silica-based material used for household objects such as light bulbs
Glass is a biologically
inactive material that can be formed into smooth and impervious surfaces.
Under tension, glass is brittle and will break into sharp shards. Under
compression, pure glass can withstand a great amount of force. The
properties of glass can be modified or changed with the addition of other
compounds or heat treatment.
The color of natural glass is
green to bluish green. This color is caused by naturally occurring iron
impurities in the sand. Common glass today usually has a slight green or
blue tint, arising from these same impurities.
To make glass, cool the melt
so rapidly that very little crystallization occurs. Nucleation and growth
rates also taper off at lower temperatures because the atoms are not mobile
enough to move to new positions. If a melt is cooled rapidly enough through
this range, only a minuscule volume will crystallize.
Glass is made by heating sand, lime, soda ash and "cullet"
(crushed, recycled glass) to a very high temperature until the mixture
melts. As it cools, it is poured into molds and injected with air.
The grinding and polishing of flat glass to produce plate
glass have become obsolete since the development of the float glass
Glass technology has evolved from simply melting a mixture
of sand and sodium carbonate, followed by casting, molding or blowing the
molten mass, to requiring state-of-the-art technologies to ensure faster and
One of the key technology challenges
that the glass industry needs to address is the need for improved energy
efficiency. Primarily, the industry uses energy to supply heat to glass
melting furnaces for melting and refining raw materials. According to the
energy analysis conducted by the Industrial Technologies Program (ITP),
energy costs account for nearly 8 percent to 12 percent of the total glass
World Automotive Glass
market is forecast to reach 390.3 million square meters by 2010 at a CAGR
of 3.15% over the 2001-2010 period.
- China's demand for flat
glass has grown at a fast pace in the past decade. In the next five years,
both production and demand will continue to grow. China's rapidly
increasing demand for flat glass was stimulated by its two-decade high
economic growth, especially the continuously rising demand in the
automobile and construction markets.
- The Chinese
construction industry will continue to remain the largest market for flat
glass. The total flat glass demand will increase 11.5% annually to 360
million weight cases in the current year.
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