How is glass manufactured?

Glass is manufactured by heating sand and other ingredients to temperatures of 1500 degrees centigrade, then cooling the molten liquid and forming it into the desired shape .

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The exact ingredients for the manufacture of glass vary with the type of glass but typically include sand, gypsum, limestone, and soda ash. Ground recycled glass, known as "cullet," is also used, and coloring is added for tinted or stained glass. These ingredients are mixed together and heated in a furnace to a temperature of approximately 1500 degrees centigrade to form molten liquid glass.

The fining process follows. This allows the bubbles that form when the ingredients are melted to rise to the surface. The glass then enters a forming chamber. Assuming the end product is to be a pane of glass (for windows, shower cubicles, and so forth), the cooling and hardening glass is floated on top of a reservoir of liquid tin. It is then cooled further with water and lifted onto a conveyer belt, where the cooling process continues, and a fine powder is sprinkled onto the glass to prevent it from sticking together after it is cut and stacked in panes.

The glass is cut using carbide wheels and stacked for packing and shipping. More elaborate processes are used for the manufacture of glasses, jugs and and other such utensils, with the liquid glass being placed in molds or blown into shape at the end of the process. However, the first part of the process is the same, even for the smallest scale artisan glass blower.

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