Glass is one of the most important and widely used materials on Earth. It is used to manufacture several products such as bottles, jars, glasses, and even vases. Thus, it holds an essential commercial value both as a utility and also for its aesthetics. However, many people out there aren’t aware of how glass is manufactured and created for everyday usage.
The glass that we see and use today is made from a unique process and a very specific material – sand. Glass is created when sand is heated and melted at an extremely high temperature. The process has several aspects, and if you truly wish to know more about melting sand to glass, then don’t worry because you are at the right place.
Requirements for making glass with sand.
Creating glass out of sand is not a simple process, and if you have observed both of the materials, you will realize why. The materials are vastly different, and changing one into another requires tremendous heating and consideration of various other factors. That’s why making glass by melting sand has several requirements that you need to consider before you start with your manufacturing process.
The first and most major requirement is factory-grade equipment that is made from a material with an extremely high melting point. If the equipment made to melt glass can’t handle the temperature itself, it can prove useless for the manufacturing process. The next major requirement is a heat source that can provide a sustainable amount of heat for a long duration of time.
And finally, the third major requirement is that of the sand itself. While any sand would do, most major glass manufacturers prefer sand that is free of other minerals and dirt to craft the perfect glass for their consumers. Many manufacturers also add waste glass for recycling, soda ash for decreasing the melting point of sand and limestone to neutralize soda ash’s side effects.
Now that you know what requirements are necessary for the process let us move on with how the process actually happens. The first part of the glass manufacturing process is melting. This is where the sand is introduced to the high-temperature resistant equipment and heated at extremely high temperatures.
The mixture of sand, waste glass, soda ash, and limestone is put into the machine and heated at blazing hot temperatures until the sand becomes a liquid material. Then, the liquid sand is either spread onto a flat sheet to make a plain sheet of glass or dropped into molds to make containers like bottles or jars.
If a glass need to be colored in a certain way, this is where the metal oxides are added to achieve that color.
The molten sand that is used for creating sheets of glasses used for windows is directed onto a flat sheet that is specially made from tin. This process helps the manufacturer get perfectly even glass that can be sold easily. The bath only has one purpose of slowly cooling down the glass that goes through it.
Once the glass is out of the float bath or its mold, it is coated with a specific coat. This is mainly used for reflective glass but can also be used for window panes to block a maximum amount of light. These coats are highly reflective and can easily change the refractive index of a newly created glass product.
However, to ensure that the coat doesn’t fall or get removed, the coating necessarily needs to be done in high temperatures. This helps the coat firmly stick to the glass’s surface and not get removed easily.
Annealing is similar to a float bath, with the only difference being that annealing has a special later that also removes any faults present in the glass. The entire process is a way to target the pressure inside a glass product that may have been created during the manufacturing process. Annealing is one of the only ways for manufacturers to cool down their glass products.
If annealing is not done, the glass products can still have excess pressure left off from the manufacturing process. This pressure can cause the glass to explode, which is why annealing is an important aspect of making glass by melting sand.
Inspecting the quality of the finished glass product and ensuring proper quality management is extremely important. After all, no customer wants to get a low-quality glass product or one that still has sand grains stuck in the mixture. These quality checks are done with the best industrial experts a company has that have years of experience in recognizing the quality and integrity of glass products.
In case a particular batch of glass products is found to have some sort of defect, the manufacturer takes the batch and uses them again as waste glass in the melting process. Every top glass manufacturer values themselves on the quality and reliability they provide to their customers. Thus, sending defective glass products to customers is simply unacceptable.
Even though the glass is fully formed at this stage and is ready to use, it cannot be immediately sent out for the usage of commercial companies. This is because the glass still has rough edges and is not available in precise measurements and thus, cannot be used by companies or individuals.
That’s why manufacturers often use precise cutting equipment and tools to cut the glasses as per the average standards and ensure they are all the same size. Once the glass sheet is cut up according to exact measurements, it is sent away for commercial use to suppliers who sell it to various parties.
Don’t worry, whatever glass is cut off isn’t disposed of somewhere else but instead recycled immediately to be used in the melting process.
Creating glass from melting sand is a complicated process, and we hope this article was helpful for you in understanding that. If it was, please consider following our website for regular updates as it will help us out immensely.