Since the glass was first created in about 500 BC, it has been fascinating for humanity to use in their everyday lives. Glass, at first thought to have magical powers, has come a long way. It is one of the construction industry's most flexible and oldest materials. Over the years, its architecture position has grown from its modest origins as a windowpane in luxury homes to sophisticated structural members in new age buildings.

Glass has numerous practical uses in our daily lives worldwide. Hence it can be considered one of the essential materials in usage in fields like architecture and design. Its scientific definition says that it is a non-crystalline amorphous solid that has the characteristic of transparency and is used for technical, practical, and decorative purposes.

What exactly makes up glass?
Silicon dioxide is the main element in glass, where silicate glass is the most common and extensively used. Silica is richly found in sand in the form of the mineral "quartz." Silica may be the main component for glass, but other chemicals like sodium oxide, sodium carbonate, and lime or calcium oxide are added to it so that glass of desirable properties (e.g., right melting point and viscosity) can be made.

What are some facts about glass materials?
Here is a few general properties glass has:
1. It is transparent, solid material.
2. It can transmit, refract, and reflect light without scattering it.
3. Silicate glass can be formed, extruded, poured, and molded into numerous shapes, including intricate designs and flat sheets.
4. It is brittle.
5. It resists erosion, especially against water erosion.
6. Usually chemical-resistant, and is also resistant to corrosion.

What are the disadvantages of glass as a construction material?
1. Easily breakable: Glass cracks without strain when exposed to the slightest tension. Additionally, the broken glass edges are sharp enough to inflict harm.
2. Unsafe for earthquake-proven areas: Buildings in earthquake-prone regions need to be specifically built to cope with the extra stress. However, in nature, glass, being brittle, is susceptible to crumbling quickly.
3. Heat absorbent: Glass produces a high level of solar radiation and heat traps that essentially warms the interior. Therefore, it may not be ideal for construction in hot regions or areas that experience plenty of sun throughout the day.
4. Increase in safety costs: The use of glass in a building raises security costs because of its transparency.
5. An increase in the overall construction cost: Glass, being a costly material relative to the other materials used in the construction industry, inevitably raises the overall construction cost.

How is glass made?
In today's world, float glass is used to prepare modern glass variants. So, what is float glass? It is a pane of molten glass on a molten metal bed such as tin or lead. This glass pane has constant smoothness and thickness, which allows the production of tremendously flat glass surfaces.
Float glass, commonly known as soda-lime silicate glass, is made by Sir Alistair Pilkinkgton's PPG process. Through this process, the raw materials for glass are first mixed in a batch in predefined ratios.
These materials, as a result, form clear glass. To add color to the glass, a few other raw materials are mixed in. This mixed batch is then moved to a 1500-degree Celsius furnace where it is heated to liquid form. Afterward, the batch is passed on to the reflective surface of molten tin float immersion at 1100 degrees Celsius. Glass from here onwards leaves as a 600-degree Celsius ribbon. To modify the glass's visual properties, hard or soft coatings are applied to its surface one after the other. The internal strains of the glass are eradicated, after which the glass is cooled gradually and cut to order.

What are the common types of glass?
1. Flat Glass:
This is the most basic product from the float method of glass making. Not only does it have a constant thickness, but it also forms the base for a more advanced type of glass through further manufacturing. It tends to shatter into long shards. Thus, it is commonly used in double-glazing after more treatment. It forms the base substance for many everyday products, including (but not limited to): windscreens, home windows, bus stops, electronics, appliances, and much more.
Usage: Glass doors, windows

2. Toughened Glass:
It is formed when the annealed glass is heated so that opposing stresses are developed on its surfaces. This is why toughened glass is a lot stronger than regular glass. It has numerous uses; for glass furniture, shower doors, shelves, and much more, while holding the advantage of being much more shatter-proof. Because of the cooling method used in toughened glass, making counteracting stresses, even if the glass does break, it will shatter into small chunks rather than shards, thus minimizing the risk of injury.
The glass's surface is blasted with sand to give it a translucent milky-white appearance, which makes it a popular method in creating shower doors where both privacy and letting in some light are required. The technique is viable for both whole sheets of glass and creating patterns using sand-resistant masks.
Usage: glass furniture, shower doors, glass shelves

3. Patterned Glass:
This type of glass is mainly produced by moving hot glass through rollers with a set pattern that needs to be imprinted on the glass. Patterned glass is commonly used for bathroom windows that require light but not full transparency, similar to sandblasted glass.
Usage: bathroom windows, doors

4. Laminated Glass:
This type is made by combining sheets of ordinary glass; thus, it is heavier than regular glass. Its thickness means that it is both soundproof and UV proof. An interlayer holds it together, which means that it won't break on impact, thus reducing the risk of break-ins and any threat caused by shards of broken glass. Laminated glass is often used in situations requiring strict security, such as store window fronts, car windscreens, or front doors. Laminated glass was invented by Edouard Benedictus, a French chemist who accidentally knocked over a lab flask. He noticed that the flask did not shatter due to the nitrate cellulose residue left on the inside.
Usage: store window fronts, car windscreens, front doors, aquariums

5. Mirrored Glass:
Among the many types of glass exists mirrored glass. This glass is a mirror that can be made in numerous sizes– from full-length wardrobe doors to small bathroom mirrors. The manufacturing process involves applying a metal coating on either one side of the glass (typically gold, silver, chrome, or aluminum). Initially, the mirrors were made by simply water collected in a vessel or polished stone and metal.
Usage: bathroom mirrors, wardrobe doors

6. Coated Glass:
This modified form of flat glass gives it definite attributes, such as making it insulating and infra-red resistant. It is typically used in making double glazed windows to improve home insulation. Your home's thermal efficiency can be boosted, and electricity bills can be minimized by applying a coat to the glass.
Usage: double glazed windows

7. Tinted Glass:
Tinted glass is just another name for colored glass. Tinted glass gets its characteristic darker hue from minor metal oxides added to the glass composition. By mixing color generating ingredients with the standard glass mix, it is ensured that glass properties are not altered. Tinted glass is preferable in doors or windows at homes or businesses for people seeking privacy. The main benefit of tinted glass is that not only does it keep out unwanted glances, but it also filters out natural sunlight to reduce discomfort from the sun's glare. Apart from this, tinted glass also diminishes the number of harmful UV rays that seep through, thus adding health benefits for all of the family.
Usage: Doors, windows

8. Sandblasted Glass:
Another name for sandblasted glass is glass carving, which provides the perfect balance between privacy and beauty. A unique mist effect is created when at high pressure, this glass is blasted with an abrasive material. The ensuing frosted look doesn't only cover the privacy concerns of bathroom windows and shower doors, but also can be made into stylish patterns to produce decorative glass panes that can improve your interior design. Be it frosted or sandblasted; both glasses work by spreading light passing through them, thus blurring the appearance of the image on the opposite side.
Usage: Decorative Glass, shower doors, bathroom windows

What is the average price of different types of glass?
The price range for tempered or impact-resistant glass lies between $12 and $14 per square foot. The price of laminated or insulated glass ranges from $10 to $20 per square foot. In comparison, thermopane/thermal Glass can cost anything from $10 to $14 per square foot. Other than these, plate flat glass can cost between $25 and $100 per square foot, double-glazed glass can cost as low as $3 to $6 per square foot, and shaw windows glass amounts to $10-$14 per square foot.
The cost to replace a windowpane can average from $167 and $376, while the majority of repairs average $271. On the other hand, door glass replacements can incur a cost between $100 and $1,800 depending on their type, size, and usage.

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