Glass is a materials composed of many inorganic elements, primarily quartz sand, soda ash, and limestone, which are mixed together and heated to extremely high temperatures to turn them into a fluid state. While components of glass are natural and abundant, process of making glass is complex and requires significant skill and experience.
Quartz sand, also known as silica sand or silica, is primary raw material required to make glass. Quartz consists of a combination of a compound called silicon dioxide (SiO2) and oxygen. Quartz sand is an abundant material derived from weathering of rocks, specifically igneous rocks including granite, volcanic ash, and quartzite that contain trace amounts of other minerals including iron, aluminum, and magnesium. Quartz sand is then crushed and refined to a very fine consistency to meet industry standard.
Soda ash, also known as sodium carbonate, is used to lower melting point of quartz sand allowing it to melt quicker when heated. This chemical is created by processing salt and limestone and is used in production of a variety of products, including glass.
Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed of primarily calcium carbonate. It is primarily used for production of quicklime, a product used in cement, mortar, and mortar-based materials. However, limestone is also added to quartz sand and soda ash mixture to make glass. Limestone helps to adjust properties of glass, such as its clarity, color, and refractive index. It also helps reduce amount of energy required to produce glass.
The process of creating glass is complex and requires strict adherence to necessary temperature and pressure levels. Sand, soda ash, and limestone are all heated to extremely high temperatures; typically somewhere between 1500°C and 1700°C. During this process, chemicals, minerals, and rocks melt down and blend together. As particles blend together, molten glass slowly cools into shape and form desired.
Glass is a versatile material, used for everything from spacecraft construction, to windows, to furniture. The raw materials used to make glass are natural and abundant, and forging process requires careful attention to get desired results. With a little time and effort, anyone can create beautiful objects from glass.