How is curved glass made? © Getty Images

How is curved glass made?

Making curved glass is a complicated and time-consuming process, but why is it such a pane to manufacture?

Asked by: Jake Wilkins, Chester

Advertisement

Manufacturing curved glass is a time-consuming, highly specialised job. You could almost say it’s a ‘pane’ to produce. Workers cut the sheet of glass to size and then clean and polish it, using a UV lamp to check for dust or impurities (any rogue particles would cause the glass to crack or shatter). They construct a steel mould shaped to the curve radius and dimensions of the desired piece. To stop the pane sticking to the mould, the glass is painted with a mixture of detergent and calcium carbonate. Then, it is placed on the mould and loaded into the kiln. The manufacturers crank up the heat to 700°C, hot enough to loosen the bonds between the silica molecules so that the glass starts to soften and bend to the profile of the mould. Once in shape, the glass is gradually cooled over a period of about two hours.


Advertisement

Subscribe to BBC Focus magazine for fascinating new Q&As every month and follow @sciencefocusQA on Twitter for your daily dose of fun science facts.