Glass is an amorphous substance that is transparent, hard and biologically inactive. It is because of the inertness of glass to chemical reactions that it is widely used for laboratory equipments. Fecklessness of glass also makes it suitable for food preservation and packaging.
Glass is one of the widely used packaging materials as far as foods and beverages are concerned. It is extensively used in the foods and beverage industry to package the finished materials. Glass packages not only make the food or contents safer for consumption, it also enhances the look and feel of the product. Glass packages make the packaged materials much more attractive and thus much more acceptable.
Besides being used as a packaging material, glass is also widely used for interior decoration. It is being used since time immemorial to do up the windows and balustrades. Archetypal buildings also illustrate the application of glass as table tops, furniture and the like. With the advancement of technology and development in the glass manufacturing industry, glass is also being used for curtain wall glazing, partitions and shop fronts, besides being used as decorative pieces and optical lenses.
Records say that glass was discovered during the Stone Age. But during that period, it was used basically in its natural form, especially obsidian, for making sharp tools for hunting. However, with the passage of time, man learnt how to manufacture glass and make beautiful artifacts with it. The first traces of man-made glass were found in Egypt, where it was used for multifarious purposes. Due to the high usability and utility of glass, it soon spread in the different corners of the world. From decorative items to storage devices, glass permeated to all the areas of activity and became an integral part of the human society.
Composition – Soda ash, feldspar, limestone, sand and dolomite
Properties – Transparent, hard, brittle, inert, impermeable
Discovery – Around 3000 BC
Usage – Laboratory equipments, jars and containers, interiors, decorative items, and optical lenses