The Constructor

Uses of Glass in Construction

Types of Glass and its Engineering Properties for Use in Construction

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There are various types of glasses used in construction and the use of these glasses depends on the purpose. Various purposes of glass can be for use in natural lighting, doors, windows, balconies etc.

Silica is the main constituent of glass. But it is to be added with sodium potassium carbonate to bring down melting point. To make it durable lime or lead oxide is also added. Manganese oxide is added to nullify the adverse effects of unwanted iron present in the impure silica.

The raw materials are ground and sieved. They are mixed in specific proportion and melted in furnace. Then glass items are manufactured by blowing, flat drawing, rolling and pressing.

Important Properties of Glass

  1. It absorbs, refracts or transmits light. It can be made transparent or translucent.
  2. It can take excellent polish.
  3. It is an excellent electrical insulator.
  4. It is strong and brittle.
  5. It can be blown, drawn or pressed.
  6. It is not affected by atmosphere.
  7. It has excellent resistance to chemicals.
  8. It is available in various beautiful colours.
  9. With the advancement in technology, it is possible to make glass lighter than cork or stronger than steel.
  10. Glass panes can be cleaned easily.

Types of Glass in Construction

The glass may be broadly classified as:

  1. Soda-lime glass
  2. Potash lime glass
  3. Potash lead glass
  4. Common glass and
  5. Special glasses.

1. Soda Lime Glass

It is mainly a mixture of sodium silicate and calcium silicate. It is fusible at low temperature. In the fusion condition it can be blown or welded easily. It is colourless. It is used as window panes and for the laboratory tubes and apparatus.

2. Potash Lime Glass

It is mainly a mixture of potassium silicate and calcium silicate. It is also known as hard glass. It fuses at high temperature. It is used in the manufacture of glass articles which have to withstand high temperatures.

3. Potash Lead Glass

It is mainly a mixture of potassium silicate and lead silicate. It possesses bright lustre and great refractive power. It is used in the manufacture of artificial gems, electric bulbs, lenses, prisms etc.

4. Common Glass

It is mainly a mixture of sodium silicate, calcium silicate and iron silicate. It is brown, green or yellow in colour. It is mainly used in the manufacture of medicine bottles.

5. Special Glasses

Properties of glasses can be suitably altered by changing basic ingredients and adding few more ingredients. It has now emerged as versatile material to meet many special requirement in engineering. The following is the list of some of the special glasses:

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