Commercial Glass Types and Their Properties

When it comes to commercial glass, there are three primary types: borosilicate, soda lime and silica glass. These types of glass differ greatly from one another in both appearance and general applications properties. If you are planning to use commercial glass for a home-improvement or business-related project, this article will give you a feel for the differenty types of glass and will explore each key characteristic.

Borosilicate Glass

Borosilicate glass, which is perhaps the most resilient commercial glass type, is made up of an enormous amount of silica, a small amount of boric oxide and tiny amounts of alkalis with a pinch of aluminum oxide. Because borosilicate glass's alkali content is extremely low, it is very durable against thermal shock and assorted chemicals. Due to its resistance to strong chemicals, borosilicate is a popular type of glass for producing test tube beakers and other types of lab equipment, making it well known within the scientific and pharmaceutical industries. Also, because of its ability to withstand high temperatures, it is widely used to produce various types of kitchenware and other cooking equipment.

Soda Lime Glass

Soda lime glass, with its characteristic lack of color, is used almost exclusively for window applications and is composed primarily of sodium and calcium. Soda lime glass, commonly referred to as "float glass," has been used to produce windows for centuries due to its ability to transmit large amounts of visible light. Also, much like its counterpart borosilicate, soda lime glass is fairly durable and able to stand up to powerful chemicals, which makes it a popular type of glass used in the production of jars.

The primary disadvantage associated with soda lime glass is that it is highly prone to thermal expansion and isn't able to withstand thermal shock nearly as well as borosilicate. As such, soda lime glass generally requires a greater deal of care than the more resilient borosilicate.

Silica Glass

Silica glass is perhaps the most delicate commercial glass type and is composed primarily of sand. Silica glass is very thin and transparent and is often used to produce the UV filters found in eyeglasses. Due to its high sand content, the melting process for silica glass can be somewhat tricky, resulting in hefty price tags for products produced with this type of glass. Silica glass is generally not a good glass with which to produce containers, and while it makes a decent window glass, silica-based windows are likely to be considerably more expensive than dependable soda lime windows.

Commercial glass has a seemingly endless number of uses that are sure to satisfy the needs of any household handyman or ambitious business owner. If you've been curious about your options, this helpful guide should help narrow your choices and ensure that you make the right decision for your home or business.