How is Glass Made?
Here at CBD Glass, we specialize in one-of-a-kind contemporary and traditional classic designs, for both commercial and residential purposes. People always ask us how we are able to do such amazing work. The answer is very simple, we owe it all to glass. But how is glass made? How are we able to turn glass into works of art? Let’s take a deep look at the properties, ingredients and creation of glass!
Glass is Everywhere!
Glass is a natural substance, a super-cooled siliceous liquid, that is, a liquid that becomes solid without having the usual freezing point. Natural glass is likely to be found almost anywhere in the universe. Indeed it comes to Earth occasionally from outer space as bubbles of silica, of meteoric origin, which have been fused to form glass in the heat, which is produced by their entry into the Earth’s atmosphere.
Although man-made glass has had a long history, more than four thousand years, even today’s scientists do not know the precise nature of this enigmatic substance. All they can say is that it is formed by melting certain minerals and cooling them in a way which prevents crystallization, giving a super-cooled liquid that is so stiff, or of such high viscosity, that it has most of the properties of a solid.
The main ingredient of almost all glass is silica, which may be sand, quartz crystals or flint. However, because pure silica turns to molten glass only at 3100 degrees Fahrenheit, it is used exclusively to make special heat resistant glass. For most glass in common use, including that used for stained glass, a flux, usually soda ash, and a stabilizer, such as limestone, are added to the silica. The mixture is then melted at a lower temperature of about 2700 degrees Fahrenheit. Cullet, or scrap glass, is sometimes added to assist melting.
As the raw ingredients are heated, they gradually decompose, giving off gases and forming a bubbling liquid in which every particle of silica is finally dissolved. There are many ways of shaping this liquid. These include: pressing, blowing, drawing, floating, casting and rolling. The possible finals shapes are endless, much like our selection of Glass Pieces!
This is a very unique shape created for a recent waterfall project in Toronto
The Finished Product
Most stained glass is made into sheets from a blown bubble of molten glass. The bubble is either molded and split, formed into a cylinder or spun, providing the characteristic seams, bubbles and variations of thickness of stained glass. The final cooling, or annealing, is a crucial part of the manufacture of glass. As a liquid, glass tends to cool rapidly on the outside, and this creates tensions, which can easily cause the glass to shatter. Like all treatment of this brittle substance, the cooling has, therefore, to be controlled and gradual.
Glass which has been made from a pure mix of silica, soda and, limestone is transparent and colorless. Unlike such solids as wood and painted canvas, which reflect light, the molecular structure of glass allows the energy of light to pass through directly so that in a perfect sheet of glass the light rays enter and emerge at the same angle with their original brilliance unaltered. Variations in thickness however, and small flaws in the glass can deflect the rays of light and these changes, which concentrate or diffuse the light, can create a fascinating and ever-changing shimmer and iridescence. It is for this reason that stained glass is manufactured by a process, which encourages imperfections. Much like the glass railings below.
We Love Glass!
Here at CBD Glass, our passion for glass is representative in our enthusiasm for the scientific process behind glass making. This is directly embodied in the incredibly unique artistic designs we create. Please let us show you how we can turn your home, office, restaurant, or hotel into an extraordinary work of art.