The composition of glass

Glass is a very special material that we encounter in everyday life almost everywhere: We look through window glass out into the world, drink from glasses and seal our stove with a glass door. The composition of glass is variable according to utility, but a specific component is always included.

Silica as the main constituent of glass

Genuine glass - the so-called silicate glass - consists mainly of silicon dioxide, also called quartz sand. This inorganic, natural raw material can be melted at high temperatures and becomes transparent. The resolidified material on cooling is similar to a solidified liquid.

However, the composition of the many glasses known to us is much more complex. The properties of glass vary depending on the type and proportion of additives. Merging of silicon dioxide with various additives results in a variety of material compositions.

What does metal glass consist of?

In addition to the silicate glass, there are still the metal glasses, which have a special composition. They consist of metals as well as metal-nonmetal alloys that have been melted and then rapidly cooled.

The rapid cooling prevents the crystallization of the components, amorphous metals are formed. The expensive metal glasses have very special properties that u. a. lift off the silicate glass. For example, metal lenses look almost the same as the original metals, but have these special features:

  • special hardness
  • electric conductivity
  • corrosion resistance
  • Scratch and deformation resistant
  • magnetic depending on the alloy

Composition of acrylic glass

Acrylic glass is plastic glass, it is also called Plexiglas. It consists of polymethyl methacrylate in disordered (amorphous) atomic structure. Other chemical additives such as dyes or plasticizers determine its properties. This is what most acrylic glasses have in common:

  • aging resistance
  • weatherability
  • Deformability at temperatures above 100° C
  • relatively sensitive to scratching
  • adhesive / weldable
  • sensitive to solvents
  • UV-absorbent

The types of glass and their composition

The composition of glass is, as we see here, a highly complex fact that we can not represent in all its depth. From a base material, many different glasses are created that enrich our everyday lives as well as science and industry.

Tips & Tricks

Anyone interested in the material of glass should visit a glassworks or a glassworks.

Video Board: Phillip Glass talks composition