BOROSILICATE GLASS – WITHOUT EQUAL
It has been around for decades, but it is still a relatively unknown material. Exploring more about the borosilicate glass, we can find many fascinating uses out of it to produce high-quality materials as it is a type of glass specially made to be extremely resistant to thermal shock and chemical corrosion. It has been used for decades in the manufacturing processes and many other purposes, ranging from cookware to sophisticated types of equipment used in today’s modern progressing world. Let’s go through some of the more fascinating facts about this versatile material which is mainly formed with silica and boron trioxide as the main raw materials.
Why Is Borosilicate Better Than Regular Glass?
Borosilicate glass is a type of safety glass that has gained popularity in recent years, with more and more people discovering the many fascinating uses it can be put to. The main feature that has helped this material gain worldwide recognition is its high resistance to thermal shock and chemical corrosion.
The best part about borosilicate glass is that it can withstand just about anything! Have you ever broken a drinking glass? If so, the odds are good that it wasn’t made out of this incredible material. It has an incredibly low coefficient of thermal expansion which translates to its ability to be used for high-temperature applications and still maintain its shape without developing stress points or cracks over time. It is thin and durable, microwave and dishwasher-safe while regular glass isn’t.
It is made from a silica mix, sodium oxide, boron trioxide, and other additives. The ingredients go through some heat treatments to promote chemical reactions that will produce an extremely strong type of glass with low thermal expansion rates.
It has exceptional mechanical strength, thermal properties, and chemical stability. It an improved type of glass that could be heated and cooled without breaking or forming stress-induced flaws.
Also, improved manufacturing processes have made it more widely available and cost-effective for many purposes.
In health and medical services are used in a variety of ways, such as surgical instruments and equipment for laboratories. It is also used in the manufacture of high-quality implantable medical devices.
In electronics is used as electrical insulators, such as in high-voltage transmission lines.
Borosilicate glass is used in space to ensure that instruments and equipment withstand the harsh conditions of being up there for potentially years on end.
It is used for cookware because it can withstand high temperatures. This makes it an ideal material to use when cooking acidic foods such as tomatoes and wine, which could potentially damage other types of materials. Borosilicate cups or bowls can be used for hot liquids without fear of it shattering or cracking from heat. It’s also been found that it helps prevent food from sticking to the pan.
It is used in high-quality flashlights which helps in creating a beam of light with the desired color or shade. This also helps in increasing the light transmittance which is much better compared to plastics and lower-quality glass.
Optics and Lenses
It is widely used in optics and lenses because of its clarity and durability.
Borosilicate glass is used in household lighting and other standard lamps as well as being one of the major components that make up incandescent light bulbs.
Beakers, flasks, test tubes are all examples of lab equipment made from borosilicate glass. Due to its thermal properties and chemical stability, it proves to be excellent in this.
Is switching to a borosilicate glass bottle for my water worth it?
You may want to switch to a borosilicate glass bottle for your water if you’re worried about chemicals like BPA leaching into the bottled water and affecting your health. These are made of different materials than plastics, so they don’t have as many harmful carcinogens.
What is Pyrex?
In 1929, the Corning Glass Company developed a special type of borosilicate glass that had very low coefficients of expansion. This was achieved by incorporating compounds with lower melting points into their manufacturing process to create more viscous material, mainly had the composition which is approximately 80% silica boric oxide sodium oxide and 2–3% aluminum oxide. The resulting product was called Pyrex and it became one of the most popular types of laboratory equipment.
WHY CHOOSE BOROSILICATE GLASS OVER SODA LIME GLASS?
Thermal, mechanical, and chemical conditions are too harsh for standard, household-type soda-lime glass which doesn’t have high endurance in these factors.
- Borosilicate glass is made from silica and boric acid with small amounts of sodium or potassium oxide to lower its melting point so that it can be molded into desired shapes while soda-lime glass is the “original” glass. It is made with sodium carbonate and calcium oxide which can not be considered very much into getting desired shapes that too forming vacuum vessels like the borosilicate glass.
- The coefficient of soda-lime glass is more than double that of borosilicate glass, which means that it expands more than twice as fast when exposed to heat and will break very quickly.
- Borosilicate glass has a much higher proportion of silicon dioxide in comparison to regular soda-lime glass (80% vs. 69%), which makes it even less susceptible to fractures.
- In terms of temperature, the maximum thermal shock range (the difference in temperatures it can withstand) of borosilicate glass is 170°C, which is about 340° Fahrenheit. This is why you can take borosilicate glass (and some bakeware like Pyrex more on this below) out from the oven and run cold water over it without shattering the glass.
- Borosilicate glass is so resistant to chemicals, that it is even used to store nuclear waste. The boron in the glass makes it less soluble, preventing any unwanted materials from leaching into the glass, or the other way around. In terms of overall performance, borosilicate glass is far superior to regular glass.
- Here’s an example, CorningWare or Pyrex bakeware exploding was not a matter of worrying until borosilicate glass was used in its manufacture, which is more resistant to breakage when subjected to extreme shifts in temperature and had a much thinner width. Modern Pyrex is made of tempered soda-lime glass, which can shatter when subjected to extreme heat.
- Improved manufacturing processes have led many manufacturers to use borosilicate in products such as cookware and lab equipment instead of the traditional soda-lime glass which is not as reliable to use considering its properties as compared to the borosilicate glass.