Tuesday, August 4, 2009

13 Interesting Facts About Glass

Glass is that clear material that our windows, bottles, drinking glasses are made of. Glass is an integral part of our lives. But, how old is glass, really? How recyclable is it? Why is it transparent? Here are 13 amazing facts about glass.

1. The oldest examples of glass are Egyptian beads dating from 12,000 BC.

2. Glass is 100% recyclable, and can be recycled on and on forever, with no loss in quality.

3. The UK has over 50,000 bottle tanks, and one of these bottle tanks can hold upto 3000 bottles before it needs to be emptied. So, 50000*3000 = 150 000 000 glass bottles that can be recycled.

4. When lightning strikes sand, the immense heat can sometimes fuse the sand into long, thin glass tubes called fulgurites.

5. The first glass vessels were produced in Egypt and Mesopotamia in about 1500 BC.

6. The blowpipe (used to blow air into the glass to give it a basic shape) was invented in around 30 B.C..

7. The first glass “factory” was built in what is now the United States. It was built in Jamestown, Virginia, in 1608. This venture failed soon, because of a famine that struck the area and took the life of many people who had settled there.

8. The glass making industry was reestablished in the America in 1739: Caspar Wistar built a factory in what is now New Jersey. This plant operated until 1780.

9. Glass is a very unique material. It is known as an amorphous solid material. It is supercooled: hot, molten glass is cooled very quickly, without allowing it to solidify.

10. Americans recycle nearly 13 million glass jars and bottles a day.

11. A typical glass recycling factory can recycle up to 20 tons of glass per hour.

12. Why is glass transparent? By supercooling the glass, the molecular structure becomes random, instead of regular. The random and loosely spaced molecules in glass allow much of the visible and ultra-violet spectrum of light to easily pass through. So, the greater the randomness of the molecules, the more light can pass through.

13. Stained glass (or coloured glass) (popularly used in decorative pieces) is made by adding metallic salts to the glass during its manufacture.


kathi said...

#s 3 & 9, what is a bottle tank and please explain more. The coolest thing I thought I knew about glass was that it was actually a liquid. I have lots of old (100+) buildings, some have original lead glass that is thicker at bottom of pane, I was told bc glass is a very slow liquid and it has settled over time.

Always wondered where/how the idea for making glass from sand came from and why beaches had chunks of glass. Now they both make sense.


Pippa said...

A bottle tank is like a silo for grain. It is just a structure designed to hold empty bottles until full when the tanks are then emptied and the glass begins its journey to being recycled.

So, basically, a bottle tank is just a designated, glorified, storage structure.