Glass is one of most common materials used in a lot of everyday applications, from windows to vases to beer bottles. But what many people don't realize is that process of making glass is surprisingly complex, and involves many different materials, including a key ingredient: sand.
Sand is main component of glass, making up around 65-75% of total mass of a glass product. Sand is made up of tiny particles of various minerals, primarily quartz, which is non-toxic and abundant in nature. The sand needs to contain at least 70% quartz because it is most durable and heat-resistant material of ingredients.
The process of making glass begins with melting raw materials at high temperatures. Sand is heated to temperatures of around 2,000-2,600 degrees F. The molten sand is then mixed with other ingredients like lime, soda ash and other minerals to create desired color and texture of glass.
The proportion of sand to other ingredients varies, and depends on type of glass being made. Clear glass, for example, requires most pure sand, while tinted glass will include additional materials to achieve desired color. The sand will typically make up between 65-75% of total mass of glass produced.
Once sand has melted, mixture will be combined with other materials and poured into molds to form desired shape of glass. The molten glass is then cooled slowly, over course of several hours, and can then be cut and polished as needed.
Glassmaking requires a great deal of knowledge and experience, as temperatures and proportions of ingredients must be just right in order to produce a good quality, durable product. To ensure best results, glassmakers typically consult with chemists to create a mixture that is best suited for type of glass being made.
In summary, to make glass, you need sand! Sand is main component of glass, making up 65-75% of mass, and it needs to contain at least 70% quartz as it is most heat-resistant material of ingredients. The proportion of sand to other ingredients can vary, depending on type of glass, and mixture will be combined with other materials and poured into molds to form desired shape. An experienced glassmaker is key to ensuring best results.