Glass is found in many shapes, sizes, and types around us. We know glass in its most familiar use, as windows, doors, and kitchen bowls and drinking glasses.
In its natural state, glass is a see-through (transparent), hard, chemically inactive material composed mostly of silicon dioxide, but with potassium, lime, and other chemicals too.
Silica (the main ingredient of silicon dioxide) is sand that is heated up until it becomes liquid. In its liquid state, it is shaped and then left to cool.
The term “glass” is used to refer to the material glass, which is used to make different things, but also to the glass, we drink water from, and “glasses” refers to spectacles.
However, the glass we drink water from does not always have to be made from glass, because sometimes they are made from plastic, wood, or even Styrofoam.
During the ancient times, man used obsidian (a naturally formed glass) for cutting tools and making weapons.
Then during the Crusades in Europe, glass manufacturing became increasingly popular and glass workers could make impressive things from glass.
The reason that glass cracks so quickly if it hits a hard surface is that the cracks move at speeds up to 3,000 miles per hour!
Today there are many different types of glass in the market. Flat glass (especially used for windows, and in its curved form is used for automobile windshields).
Optical glass is the type found on eyeglasses, but also on telescopes, microscopes and camera lenses. The process of making optical glass makes it more expensive than others.
Fiberglass is glass as thin as fibres (extremely thin strips) which are packed loosely together with wool like substances.
They make great padding for electrical purposes, but also for tape, cloths, mats, and even fire-fighter’s suits.
Bulletproof glass is many layers of laminated glass, which is packed thickly together. They are so strong they do not break even when shot at from close by. This type of glass is found in banks, and military vehicles.
Coloured glass is heavy glass, which is found in many colours. This is great for decorating the insides of homes, buildings, churches, and tabletops.
Heat resistant glass is glass that has a high amount of silica and is often what cooking pots are made out of.
Apart from these types of glass, there are many others like glass building blocks, foam glass, glass optical fibres, glass tubing, and many more.
Even though glass is made from silica, which is found naturally, glass takes over 1 million years to decompose. Therefore, since recycling glass has become a business enterprise itself.
It is assumed that recycling one glass bottle can help run a 100-watt bulb for four hours and since never wears out it can be recycled repeatedly. Recycling glass reduces air pollution by 20% and water pollution by 50%.