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Not All Glass is Created Equal

Misc. Glass Rods

Glass is glass right? Wrong!

There are several types made from a variety of formulas.

Soda Lime Glass (aka “soft glass”)

photo credit: open window via photopin (license)
photo credit: open window via photopin (license)
  • Standard glass is made up of a variety of chemicals melted together. It is usually used in drinking glasses, windows, etc.
  • When dropped or struck it shatters into sharp pieces that are difficult to clean safely. We’ve all spent time trying to get a tiny piece of glass out of a foot or hand.
  • The rate of thermal expansion is pretty high, which simply means that it expands rapidly when introduced to extreme heat. This causes it to shatter as if struck.

Tempered Glass (aka “safety glass”)

  • photo credit: crazed via photopin (license)
    photo credit: crazed via photopin (license)

    This type of glass is made up of the same stuff as regular glass and used for cookware, car windows, etc.

  • What makes it “tempered” is the process it undergoes after creation. It is placed in a tempering oven to harden. It must be pre-molded as it cannot be manipulated once tempered.
  • When it breaks, it crumbles into large or medium size chunks. Clean up is safer than regular glass, but still problematic as there are a large amount of pieces.

 

Now, to our main event.

Borosilicate Glass (aka “hard glass”)image1

  • You can find hard glass in places like scientific equipment, the space shuttle shielding, and here at SETX Glass.
  • Hard glass is made of all the same stuff as the other glasses. HOWEVER, the star of this mixture is the boron trioxide, which significantly reduces the thermal expansion rate.

So what?

  • It can be heated without expanding very much.
  • The added boron also makes the piece resistant to chemicals. This means that it will not look “dingy” over time.
  • What happens if you drop it? Well, it might not, but it will probably break (shocker I know). However, if it does break, it will crack into one or two pieces. Clean up is a breeze and no finding pieces with your foot later.

Will uses boro in ALL of his designs. It costs more and requires higher heat and effort to manipulate, but is so worth it. Each piece is heirloom quality, which means your great-grandchildren can wear your wormhole pendant with pride. It will be as pristine as the day you bought it.

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