How do glass manufacturers apply new technology in the glass manufacturing process Today's advanced workplaces and homes reflect the human need for increased natural light. But there's also a need for energy-efficiency and flexibility in glass applications. To meet those demands, glass had to change too. As a result, new technology in the glass manufacturing process is becoming more exciting, and at least one type of glass is right out of a science-fiction movie.
INSULATING GLASS The insulating glass formerly used for those soaring, sparkling skyscrapers were heavy, triple-glazed and very expensive. Now, a new vacuum-glazing glass manufacturing process gives us a glass that's thinner, lighter and with an insulation rating of R12-R13. To understand how amazing that is, brick and plaster walls have an insulation rating of R12, and regular glass is R1 or R2. Vacuum-sealing the thin space between glass layers, and adding a special coating to the glass significantly lowers heat loss while providing passive solar energy. So those beautiful glass walls are making the buildings more energy-efficient.WILLOW GLASS Glass so thin and flexible that it bends? This is an astounding glass product that's causing a lot of excitement in the high-tech industry. A new technology in the glass manufacturing process, developed by Corning, who gave us the super-tough Gorilla Glass used in smart phones and other tech devices, Willow Glass is thin and flexible enough to be "wrapped" around a device or structure. It's processed at temperatures up to 500 degrees C and manufactured in rolls, like paper towels. Tech engineers are fascinated with the glass' possibilities for liquid crystal and organic light-emitting diode technologies like screens for phones, tablets, touch sensors and laptops. Imagine a computer screen that curves and wraps around the viewer. BLAST-RESISTANT GLASS Blast-resistant glass currently installed in vulnerable buildings is thick and very expensive. But now a new type of glass is thinner, lighter and stands up better to small-scale explosions. Tests showed that the new glass resists a hand grenade exploded close to the window, causing it to crack, but not break. The insulated layer of the glass stayed intact. The Missouri University scientists who developed the glass say that it's thinner -- only half an inch thick -- and cheaper than current blast-proof glass. The glass manufacturing process includes a transparent layer of composite material made of glass fibers layered in plastic and only about half the size of a human hair, embedded between two layers of glass, replacing the old-style layer of plastic.
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