The first ever glass known to mankind was invented long back in 3500BC. Since then, it has been one of the most versatile hypnotic materials known to man. Glass has come a long way and with various advancements, it has currently emerged as one of the vital substances in the manufacturing of various products. From its humble beginning as a window pane in the construction industry to classy material in electronics devices, its role has evolved with every passing year.
Conventionally, glass was produced by blowing liquid glass (obtained by melting sodium carbonate and sand calcium oxide at an enormously high temperatures) and then cooling the liquid by setting it into a desired shape. Since a few decades, the formula to produce glass has been gone through many researches and developments and has given rise to the development of advanced glass.
What is advanced glass?
Advanced glass is one of the finest qualities of glass made by mixing components such as pure silica (fused quartz, Sio2), natural gas, iron, and sodium carbonate. This glass possesses highly advanced features such as noise cancellation, security, UV control, and sound reduction as it undergoes various chemical as well as mechanical processes. Currently, this glass is used in several industries including the electronics and construction industry. As per a report by Research Dive, growing acceptance for environment friendly infrastructures and extensive usage in electronics and smart-homes sectors all across the globe are boosting the growth of the global advanced glass market.
Several types of advanced glasses that are currently ruling the market are smart glass, thin glass, security glass, nano channel glass, bioactive glass and self-cleaning glass.
1. Smart glass: Smart glass is also called as switchable glass. In this type of glass, the light transmission properties get altered when light, voltage, or heat is applied. For instance, this glass changes from translucent to transparent and vice versa.
Smart glass is widely used in suspended-particle, photochromic, electrochromic, thermochromic, micro-blind, and polymer-dispersed liquid-crystal devices. When used in the exteriors of a building, they act as a climate adaptive building shell.
2. Ultra-thin glass: This type of glass has thickness lesser than a single human hair strand. It offers benefits over other substrate materials like metal, plastic, and silicon. This type of glass is widely used in several industries due to its features like surface flatness, light weight, weather resistance, thermal stability, flexibility, and superior optical quality. Fusion and float methods are the most widely used methods for the manufacturing of ultra-thin glass. Both these methods need extremely precise temperature and power control to manufacture flawless molten glass and then form thin glass sheets as per required standards.
3. Security glass: This glass was developed with an aim to offer maximum security and protect people and their properties against vandalism, thieves, or deliberate attacks. This type of glass is developed in such a way that it is well equipped in acting as a shield against any impact, falling object, noise as well fire.
4. Nanochannel glass: This type of glass is made out of an experimental mask technology which is an alternative technique for producing nanostructures. This glass is a complex glass material that contains numerous parallel hollow channels. It can be used as a material in microchannel plate, unidirectional conductors, chromatographic columns, and nonlinear optical devices. Additionally, it can be used in semiconductors for optical lithography, ion implantation, and reactive ion etching.
5. Bioactive glass: This type of glass falls under the group of surface reactive glass-ceramic biomaterials. The bioactivity and biocompatibility of this glass makes it an ideal choice for applications such as an implant device in the human body to repair and replace unhealthy or damaged bones.
6. Self-cleaning glass: This is a special type of glass which is capable of keeping itself free of dirt and grime. This type of glass comes in two types hydrophobic and hydrophilic. Both these types can clean themselves with water—first by rolling drops and then by forming a sheet of water that washes away all the dust and dirt. Among these two types, hydrophilic glass which is based on titania (titanium dioxide), possess an additional property of chemically breaking down the absorbed dust in sunlight. Nanotechnology is used for the production of this unique type of glass which uses an ultra-thin coating to embed the self-cleaning feature.