8 Types of Glass and their Properties and Applications

Glasses are ceramic materials that are rigid like solids but which are not crystalline. Glass is also known as a supercooled liquid of infinitely high viscosity.

The glass comes in the category of amorphous solid which is brittle and transparent. They are obtained by fusing a mixture of several metallic silicates or borates of sodium, potassium, calcium, and lead.

Composition of Glass

Glass is not a single compound. So, it does not have a fixed chemical formula but its general chemical formula is given below:


R = Alkali metal (Na, K, etc)

M = Bivalent metal (Ca, Pb, etc)

x and y = Number of molecules

Properties of Glass

1. Glass is an amorphous solid that is its constituent particles are not arranged in any regular fashion.

2. Glass is brittle that is it can easily crack by applying little external force.

3. Glass may be transparent or translucent depending upon the compounds used in its manufacturing.

4. Glass melt over a range of temperature.

5. Glass is isotropic.

6. Glass does not have definite heat of fusion.

7. Glass gives smooth cooling curves.

8. Glass is a good insulator of heat and electricity.

9. Glass has a high melting point and does not react with external reagents. That's why they are used in laboratories.

10. Glass has no definite structure that means they have high compressive strength, can absorb, transmit, and reflect light.

Types of Glass

1. Soda Lime Glass

Soda-lime glass, also known as soda-lime-silica glass or window glass is a type of glass that contains 70% silica (silica dioxide), 15% soda (sodium oxide), and 9% lime (calcium oxide). It is the most common and least expensive type of glass.


Its chemical formula is Na2O.CaO.6SiO2

Where soda serves as a flux to lower the temperature at which the silica melts, and the lime acts as a stabilizer for the silica.

Properties of Soda Lime Glass

1. Soda-lime glass is cheap, chemically stable, hard, and extremely reliable.

2. Soda-lime glass is used to manufacture light bulbs, windows, bottles, and art objects.

3. It is a soft glass, which eases the fabrication process via cutting.

4. Additives are added in soda-lime glass to increase its strength and thermal shock resistance.

Application of Soda Lime Glass

1. It has construction applications like glass doors and windows.

2. It is used in the manufacturing of bottles and containers for food and beverages.

3. It is used as a high voltage insulator, light bulbs, etc.

4. It is used as a laboratory ware.

5. It is used as an art and decorative object.

2. Lead Glass

Lead glass is also known as lead-oxide glass or lead crystal which contains at least 20% lead oxide. Its chemical composition is K2O.PbO.6SiO2. It contains lead oxide instead of calcium oxide as compared to soda-lime glass. The addition of PbO makes the glass more bright and lustrous.


Properties of Lead Glass

1. Lead glass has a high refractive index, making the look of glassware more brilliant.

2. Lead glass has high elasticity, making the glassware more workable and reliable.

3. Lead glass has a lower softening temperature compared to soda glass.

4. Lead glass has good electrical insulating properties and has a lower melting temperature.

Application of Lead Glass

1. It is used for shielding to protect against X-rays and gamma-rays in medical, technical, and research work.

2. It is used for decorative purposes.

3. It is used for making optical glasses because of its refractive index.

4. It is used for making ornaments, neon sign tubing, drinking glasses, etc.

3. Armoured Glass

Armored glass or Bulletproof glass is a strong optically transparent material that can resist the penetration of fast-moving sharp objects like bullets.


Bulletproof glass is very different from ordinary glass which is manufactured by sandwiching a polycarbonate material between two layers of ordinary glass via lamination process as shown in the above figure.

Working of Armoured Glass

When a bullet strikes an armored glass, its energy spreads outside through the layers. Because the energy is divided between many different pieces of glass and plastic and spread over a large area, it is quickly absorbed.

The bullet slows down so much that it has no longer enough energy to pierce through it. Although, the glass panes do break the plastic layer stop them from flying apart.

4. Safety Glass

Safety glass is a type of glass that is specifically designed to be less likely to break and fewer chances of giving injury when it breaks. It also includes glass that is manufactured for strength or fire resistance.

Following are the type of safety glasses:

1. Laminated Glass

Laminated glass is a type of safety glass that is made by placing a layer of polyvinyl butyral (PVB) between two or more glass layers. Laminated glass is also known as Lami. When laminated glass breaks, the glass particles adhere to the PVB and do not fly or fall.


Applications of Laminated Glass

1. Laminated glass is used in burglar resistance, sound reduction, sloped glazing, and space enclosures.

2. By changing the thickness and color of PVB, laminated glass can be used to reduce the transmission of solar energy, control glare, and filter out ultraviolet radiation.

3. Laminated glass is used in roofs, floors, and car windshields. They are also used in high securities areas like Banks, ATMs, etc.

2. Tempered Glass

Tempered glass or Toughened glass is a type of safety glass that is manufactured by heating annealed glass uniformly and then cooling it rapidly by blowing air uniformly onto both surfaces at the same time. This whole process is known as air quenching.


Rapid cooling increases the compression forces on the surfaces and the tension forces inside the glass. Tempered glass is about four times stronger than a lite of annealed glass of the same size and thickness.

Also, tempering increases the tensile strength of glass. This makes tempered glass better able to resist the forces caused by heat, wind, and impact.

Advantages of Using Tempered Glass

1. Tempered glass provided great strength against deflection as compared to heat-strengthened glass.

2. When tempered glass breaks, it shatters into small cubes, reducing the chances of serious injury.

3. Tempered glass cannot be cut, drilled, or edged.

Applications of Tempered Glass

1. It is used in making automobile windshields.

2. In making glass doors, windows, walls, etc.

3. In cookware and laboratory glassware.

5. Borosilicate Glass

Borosilicate glass is a type of glass that contains silica and boron trioxide as glass formers and sodium oxide as a fluxing agent. It also contains a small amount of alumina and less alkaline solids.


When a part of SiO2 in glass formulation is replaced by B2O3, the glass formula becomes

7Na2O.4CaO, 3Zno.36(SiO2 + B2O3)

which usually contains SiO2 (80.5%), B2O3 (13%),Al2O3 (0.3%), K2O (3%) and Na2O (0.5%)

Properties of Borosilicate Glass

1. Borosilicate glasses have a low coefficient of thermal expansion as compared to the soda-lime glass which makes it less vulnerable to cracking from thermal shock.

2. Borosilicate glasses offer excellent chemical resistance and provide good chemical stability. That's why the laboratory apparatus is made up of Borosilicate glass.

3. Borosilicate glass is far more durable than other traditional glass and can withstand accidents that would break other glassware.

4. Borosilicate glass has high electrical resistance.

Applications of Borosilicate glass

1. It is used in making laboratory ware and kitchenware.

2. It is used in making pipelines in chemical plants.

3. It is used as electrical insulators.

4. It is used in telescope lenses and other optical instruments.

5. It is used in high-intensity lighting products.

6. Fluorosilicate Glass

Fluorosilicate glass (FSG) is a type of glass that is composed primarily of fluorine, silicon, and oxygen. It has many uses in industries especially semiconductor fabrication where it forms an insulating dielectric.

Fluorosilicate glass has a low K-dielectric and is used in between copper metal layers during the silicon integrated circuit fabrication process.

7. Coloured Glass

Colored glass is a type of glass that is colored in nature instead of being transparent. The colored glass is produced by adding coloring agents which are oxides of transitional elements, especially the first group: Ti, V, Cr, Mn, Fe, Co, Ni, and Cu.


Color is produced by the absorption of certain light frequencies by agents in the solution in the glass. Color is produced by colloidal particles precipitated within an originally colorless glass by heat treatment.

For Example, The precipitation of gold (colloidal) producing gold ruby glass.

Application of Colored Glass

1. Most of the colored glass is used for decorative purposes in houses, hotels, and other commercial buildings.

2. They are used to make different types of stylish kitchenware like bottles, bowls, etc.

3. They are also used in entertainment lightning in various clubs, biscuits, etc.

8. Photosensitive Glass

Photosensitive glass is known as photo structural glass (PSG) is a type of glass that belongs to the family of lithium-silicate glasses in which an image can be captured by microscopic metallic particles in the glass when it is exposed to short wave radiations such as U.V light.


Working of Photosensitive Glass

When the Photosensitive glass is exposed to U.V light of wavelength range 280-320 nm, a latent image is formed. The glass remains transparent at this stage, but its absorption in the U.V range of the spectrum increases. This increased absorption is only detectable using U.V transmission spectroscopy.

The reason behind this is the oxidation-reduction reaction that occurs inside the glass during exposure in which ions are oxidized to a more stable state and silver ions are reduced to silver. When the glass is heated to a temperature in the range 550-560 C for several hours the latent image is converted to a visible image through photoexcitation.

Application of Photosensitive Glass

1. Photosensitive glass is used in the printing and reproducing process.

2. It is used in portrait, scientific photography, and architecture.

4. Due to its fine-grained structure, good thermal conductivity, and clarity of image, it is used as a viewing screen for optical instruments.

5. It is also used for the manufacture of lighting fixtures, gratings, and automobile lights.

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