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September 5th, 2008

Video of the Week: Manufacturing flat (float) glass

Published on September 5th, 2008 | By: pwray@ceramics.org

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This week’s video comes courtesy of PPG. It demonstrates modern techniques of making large sheets of flat glass that has a smooth surface – something that perplexed glass-makers for centuries.

The first advances in automating glass manufacturing were patented in 1848 by Henry Bessemer, (of steel-making fame), who developed a steelmill-like, but very expensive process to produce a continuous ribbon of flat glass force under heat between rollers. Another old method formed large sheets of plate glass by casting a large puddle on an iron surface. Both of these processes required secondary polishing.

Then in the 1950s, Sir Alastair Pilkington and Kenneth Bickerstaff created the first successful commercial application for forming a continuous ribbon of glass using a molten tin bath on which the molten glass flows unhindered under the influence of gravity. Full scale profitable sales of float glass were first achieved in 1960.

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5 Responses to Video of the Week: Manufacturing flat (float) glass

  1. Ashley Edelman @ SI says:

    I would love to have this video as part of a touch screen interactive at a museum. Is there a way I can get a higher resolution version of this video?


  2. I join my colleagues in all their comments. I would also like to get a clean copy of this DVD for academic purposes.

  3. Rachman Chaim says:

    I agree with prof. Varshenyas’ comment about the poor quality of the DVD and excess emphasis on stacking. Outside US, we use temperature in Celcius units rather than Farenhite (this may also be added).Where are the ports for composition analyses? Some more details about the glass precursors (list) and cullet, may improve further this DVD presentation.
    I will be grateful to receive a good quality copy of this DVD for instruction in my undergradute course on ceramics.
    Thank you,

  4. Professor Arun Varshneya says:

    On the website, the DVD is somewhat poor quality. Loses appeal.
    Seems to have spent more time on glass cutting and stacking.
    It should emphasize more of the melting/fining/homogenization processes, energy consumption (and conservation efforts), and environmental conservation.
    Nonetheless, I would like to get a clean DVD copy for classroom instructional purposes.

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