Quartz scientific glass blowing produces glass apparatus for research, industrial and government laboratories. Learn more here.
Specialist scientific glassware is produced by a highly skilled process of quartz scientific glass blowing. This differs from standard glass blowing in that the specialist blowers use only quartz and borosilicate glass. Standard glass blowers begin with a molten globule of glass from a furnace and work this into containers and artistic objects.
The scientific glass blower usually starts with an existing piece of specialist glass equipment and modifies into another shape or function. Like the standard glass blower, he is an artisan at heart but often will have a deep understanding of the scientific and experimental environment in which the glass equipment will be used.
The final piece of scientific glassware has to be both structurally sound and safe. The safety parameters applicable to its experimental use must be followed with precision. Quartz scientific glass blowing must produce pieces of equipment that are fully annealed so that all stresses and strains within the piece are relieved. The process of glass blowing introduces a multitude of stresses and strains into the work piece.
The glass equipment can be tested after blowing by passing polarised light through it. The light will separate into bands of different colours and show points where stresses and strains have accumulated. If these are left unattended, they could cause the equipment to fail during an experiment, cause injury or ruin a piece of research.
Intricate glass pieces formed by this process are used as essential apparatus in the aerospace sector. Aeronautical engineers used specially fabricated glass equipment for flame analysis.
Quartz scientific glass blowing can be used in conjunction with other working methods. Lathe burners and hand-held blowing torches are used every day to fabricate details on a piece of glass equipment.
However, the final piece of apparatus is not always created solely through thermal heating and subsequent shaping of the glass material. The final glass forms may be produced by the addition of mechanical shaping to the heating process.
Cold working of the glass can be added to the thermal forming process to fabricate different glass parts of the same piece of apparatus. One example is the addition of glass flanges to an existing laboratory vessel. The flanges are first cut from a flat glass piece and are fused to the main piece of equipment using a thermal process.
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