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Borosilicate glass - properties
Types of glass
Glass today can be defined as a hard, transparent substance obtained by melting and cooling a mixture of mineral and inorganic raw materials - mainly silicates. However, not everyone knows that glass can be produced in various ways, and its varieties differ in chemical composition.
The most common and most widely used type by man is soda-lime glass. Made of an alloy of soda (15%), lime (9%) and silica (69%), it accounts for as much as 90% of the glass produced in the world, and due to its easy availability and low price, it is used by most companies involved in the production of glass products. Unfortunately, however, it is susceptible to shocks, breaks easily and does not withstand sudden changes in temperature.
What is borosilicate glass?
Borosilicate glass is a type of glass that contains boron trioxide in its composition, thanks to which it has a very low coefficient of expansion. In practice, this means that it has high resistance to the so-called thermal shocks, i.e. it does not break during sudden changes in temperature, as is the case with ordinary glass. In an even simpler sense: a glass made of borosilicate glass can be moved from the freezer to a preheated oven and it will not break. You can also pour boiling water into the same glass and be sure that the dish will retain its integrity. This above-average thermal resistance of borosilicate glass makes it widely used in laboratories, restaurants, wine bars and the broadly understood industry.
Properties of borosilicate glass
Borosilicate glass has a much higher proportion of silicon dioxide (80%) than ordinary soda-lime glass (69%), which makes it much less prone to breakage. They are also characterized by more than twice lower thermal expansion coefficient, which also affects its strength. It is estimated that the temperature difference it can withstand is even 170 ° C.
Borosilicate glass also has a very high chemical resistance, therefore it is used, among others, for storing nuclear waste. The boron it contains makes it much less soluble than most materials known to us. This means that chemicals and borosilicate glass do not interpenetrate.
Borosilicate glass and health and ecology
Since borosilicate glass is resistant to all kinds of chemicals, the use of borosilicate vessels and straws is completely safe for health. Each of us has certainly felt the taste of plastic while drinking water from a plastic bottle. This is because plastics have a relatively high solubility, so that the plastic molecules from which the bottle is made penetrate into the drink. It is both harmful to health and unpleasant. Due to its low solubility, borosilicate glass protects the drink from contamination and thus does not change its taste.
What's more, dishes made of borosilicate glass can be washed in a dishwasher and placed in a microwave oven, and when heating a glass bottle, e.g. with baby milk, we do not have to worry about the release of harmful toxins into the liquid. It is also worth bearing in mind that it is made of natural materials and is recyclable, making it safe for the environment.