Facts about Glass

We all use vases for our arrangements. The most common material and the most useful is glass. There are some facts about glass.

The Good… The Bad… The Ugly

Read this fascinating insight into how glass works.

The Good

Glass has been used since the days of the Romans to allow natural light into our buildings.

The increasing use of light in architecture and workplace design means that glass has become a major feature of the modern day building. Discover why glass is transparent.

However, glass does create certain problems too…

The Bad

Heat as well as light enters the building resulting in discomfort of staff and higher air-conditioning costs.

Privacy is reduced, which puts your possessions on display.

Glare is uncomfortable for screen users and reduces staff productivity.

And because glass is easily broken it can get ugly…

The Ugly

Glass is easily broken and becomes the weak point in your security.

Toughened glass can spontaneously break for no apparent reason. This becomes a danger in tall buildings. Why does toughened glass suddenly break?

How is Glass Made?

Glass being made
Sand, soda ash and lime are heated up to very high temperatures in a furnace to become a great syrupy mass. When allowed to cool it becomes glass, which retains many of the properties of a liquid.

Why is glass transparent?

The materials used for glass cool and solidify. However, the resulting glass retains a very random molecular structure. The rather random and loosely spaced molecules in glass allow much of the visible and ultra-violet spectrum of light to pass through.The greater the randomness of the molecular structure, the easier it is for the light to pass through. This is why you can see through most liquids and gases.

In contrast, solids like wood, metal or stone (eg. bricks) have a regular crystalline lattice structure, which makes it very difficult for light to pass through.


The Greenhouse Effect

Visible light and ultra violet light pass through the glass. When the light hits an object it is either absorbed, scattered or reflected. The energy from the light is released as heat.

As glass is not a good conductor of heat, the temperature in the room builds.

Window films can be used to reflect light and its associated energy to prevent a build up of heat inside the building.

Why does glass break?

Ahh, this is a controversial one!

Firstly, glass is Brittle.

Glass is brittle because it does not have good large-area orderly crystalline structure. If it did, it would be like sheet metal steel, where it dents and deforms instead of shattering.

When the stress exceeds the strength of the glass it breaks.

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