Glass is truly a one-of-a-kind material: Its properties aren’t that of a true liquid or solid (referred to as amorphous solid). It can be molded into all shapes and sizes. Its usefulness ranges from vases to skyscraper windows and much more. Due to its very unique nature, you may be wondering, “How is glass made?”

How is Glass Made?

The origin of glass making is remarkable. Humans got the idea for making glass from a naturally occurring process that takes place in the mouths of volcanoes. When intense heat melts sand and then cools quickly it turns into obsidian.

The concept behind man-made glass is similar.

Glass is made from liquid sand mixed with compounds such as sodium bicarbonate and lime. The mixture is melted at an incredibly high temperature (3090 degrees+ Fahrenheit) and undergoes a transformation as it cools, becoming an amorphous solid that can be molded into the desired shape/size.

Process of Making Glass

Glass containers were first developed around 1500 BC back when glass was made through an extremely painstaking process using a glass melting furnace. Back then, the furnaces were small and hardly hot enough to melt glass.

The invention of the blowpipe and the technique of glassblowing is what really changed the game. Glassblowing refers to a process in which a blowpipe is used blow a bubble of air into molten glass, the first step in creating hand-blown glass. This accelerated glass production dramatically, as this method made it much easier and more efficient.

The exact processes nowadays can vary depending on what the glass in being used for. If it’s being used for containers or bottles, for instance, they are poured into molds. The windows we work with here at Glass West are molded differently. Here’s a closer look at that process:

  1. The liquid sand and chemical compounds are mixed and then heated to extreme temperatures.
  2. The cooling period is where molten glass can be molded. Windows are molded through what’s called the drawing process. They’re formed by being drawn into a tank, which is perfectly smooth.
  3. Once the glass has taken shape, it’s actually reheated and cooled slowly in order increase the strength of the glass. This technique is known as annealing. Tempering is a similar process for making shatterproof glass, except the glass is cooled with quick bursts of cold air.
  4. The windows are then glazed with the desired coatings (such as UV protection).

About Glass West

Glass West has been proudly providing window replacement services in the greater Sacramento area since 1995! When in need of window replacement, contact us here for a free estimate.