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  • Glass and Ceramics

    Glass belongs to amorphous inorganic nonmetallic materials, generally with a variety of inorganic minerals (such as quartz sand, borax, boric acid, barite, barium carbonate, limestone, feldspar, soda, etc.) as the main raw materials, and add a small number of auxiliary materials made. The main components of glass are silica and other oxides. The chemical composition of ordinary glass is Na2SiO3, CaSiO3, SiO2 or Na2O·CaO·6SiO2, which belongs to the mixture. Glass is generally colorless, there are also mixed with some metal oxide or salt and the color of the tinted glass and through the physical or chemical method of toughened glass. Some transparent plastics, such as polymethyl methacrylate, are sometimes referred to as plexiglass.

    Ceramics are made from natural clay and various natural minerals by grinding, mixing, molding and calcination. Ceramic is the general term for pottery and porcelain. The difference between pottery and porcelain is the difference in raw materials and temperature. Pottery was fired at 800-1000 degrees, while porcelain was fired with kaolin at 1300-1400 degrees. The chemical composition, mineral composition, physical properties, and manufacturing methods of pottery and porcelain are often close to each other without distinct boundaries, but differ greatly in applications.


    Glass has been in human life for more than four thousand years. It is widely used in the fields of architecture, daily use, art, medicine, chemistry, electronics, instrument, nuclear engineering and so on.

    • Chemistry: Glass is indispensable in the field of chemistry. Especially in the chemistry laboratory, there are a large number of glass instruments, such as beakers, flasks, glass rods, measuring cylinder, silica gel column and so on. In addition, some of the more sophisticated and expensive instruments, such as rotary evaporator, analytical balance, melting point meter, nuclear magnetometer, photoreactor, etc., contain some glass components.
    • Architecture: Glass is widely used in the field of architecture. Architectural glass is the most active element in the field of building materials and architecture. Compared with other types of glass, the function of building glass is no longer just to meet the requirements of lighting, but to have thermal insulation, safety (bulletproof, anti-theft, fire prevention, radiation, electromagnetic wave interference), art decoration and other characteristics. Nowadays, the types of architectural glass have expanded to more than 30, and architectural glass is applied in almost all architectural fields.
    • Glass architecture Figure 1. Glass architecture

    • Daily use: Glass is also widely used in daily life. Many daily necessities are usually made of glass, such as cups, utensils,etc.
    • Other fields: In addition to the above fields, glass is also used in many other fields. In medicine, for example, glass is often used to make medical devices. In the field of art, many works of art are made from glass, and many ornaments (such as vases and instrument lamps) are also made from glass.

    Ceramics also has a long history. Its application fields mainly involve art decoration and daily life.

    • Daily life: Ceramic products can be seen everywhere in daily life because of its good thermal insulation. First, most of the cutlery used to hold food (such as bowls, plates, cups and saucers) is ceramic. Secondly, some kitchen utensils are also ceramic products.
    • Art decoration: Ceramics are widely used in the field of art decoration. Countless works of art have been made from ceramics since ancient times. Most of the "terracotta warriors", the eighth wonder of the world, are ceramic. Many of the artifacts unearthed from the tombs are also ceramic. In modern life, a lot of the vase that has adornment effect and handicraft are ceramic product.
    • Ceramic artwork Figure 2. Ceramic artwork


    According to different classification methods, glass can be divided into various kinds of glass. For example, depending on the process, glass can be divided into ordinary plate glass and deeply processed glass. Glass can be divided into oxide glass and non-oxide glass according to its composition. According to different properties, glass can be divided into tempered glass, porous glass, conductive glass, glass-ceramics and insulating glass.


    1. Zhong, Jiasong. (2017), "Mn4+,Li+ co-doped SrMgAl10O17 phosphor-in-glass: application in high-power warm w-LEDs." Dalton Transactions 46(30), 9959-9968.
    2. Georgiu, N. K. (2017), "Porous Reaction-Bonded Silicon Nitride Ceramics: Fabrication Using Hollow Polymer Microspheres and Properties." Inorganic Materials 55(12), 1290-1296.

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