Glass Types and Manufacturing Process

Glass is a material that we’re quite familiar with. It appears in buildings, on cars, optoelectronics, etc. However, glass is only a trivial name, what the glass really is?

In this post, we’re going to share you with some information about the types and the manufacturing process of glass.

1. What is glass

Glass is the non-crystalline, inorganic and non-metallic material. The oldest, and the most familiar types of glass are silicate glasses which are produced from the chemical compound silica.

Glass has the ability of optical transparency, thus it’s used as window panes primarily. In addition, glass has a certain degree of hardness, which indicates it’s able to undertake the role of the protective cover layer of many devices if they require light passing.

Based on its optical property, glass can be further processed to make optical lenses, prisms and optical fibers.

2. Types of glass

Divided by shape, glasses have four types: 2D (dimension) glass or plate glass, 2.5D glass, 3D glass and bent glass.

2D glass

2D glass means the glass is flat, and its edges are straight. Most of the glasses we see in our daily life are 2D glasses. They appears on desks, windows, toys and so on.

2.5D glass

2.5D glass is a better version of 2D glass. The main property of 2.5D glass is the corners and the edges of it are polished. It comes into the market with the development of mobile internet.

In recent years, people have to interact with electronic devices for hundreds of times every day. Therefore the smooth edges and corners are very crucial that they provide a better experience when touching the protective glass.

As a result, most of the latest electronic devices having a touchscreen are all using 2.5D glass.

3D glass

3D glass is the best protective glass available now. The two sides of the 3D glass are bent, so that it provides a huge vision impact and the best feel when you hold the device.

Bent glass

Bent glass is a type that the whole glass is curve. Those glasses we see on the automobile is a typical example of bent glass.

Types of glass
source: medium.com

3. Manufacturing process of glass

Since the consumer electronics is the hottest market, let’s take the glass for screen protection as an example to introduce the manufacturing process.

3.1 Material preparation

Use cutting machine to cut the raw glass into a size slightly larger than the final size.

3.2 CNC (computerized numerical control)

CNC machine is here to rub off the unnecessary glass on edge to create a curved one. And meanwhile it drills holes and grooves according to the design.

3.3 Polishing

Use polisher and chemical solution to polish glass, making the surface of glass flat and smooth.

3.4 Cleaning and washing

Clean and wash the glass immediately after polishing to remove the residual polishing powder.

3.5 Reinforcement

The methods to reinforce the thin cover glass are mainly chemical, they are: high temperature ion exchange, low temperature ion exchange, dealkalization and sodium carbonate strengthening.

Among the four methods, the low temperature ion exchange is the most common one in industry, for not only can it gets a high strength glass easily, but also it’s a simple way doing no harm to the glass.

To reinforce the glass, we need to change the constituent of its surface. The alkali metal is used here to exchange the Na or K ion to form an ion exchange layer on the surface of glass. By this way, when the exchange is finished, the glass will be in a state that its surface is under tension while its inner part is under pressure, so that the hardness of it is enhanced.

3.6 Screen printing

For the back cover glass, there’s always a trademark and some other symbols on it. We need screen printing to realize this.

Silkscreen board and ink are applied to print the symbols on glass.

3.7 AF (anti fingerprint) or AS (anti scratch) coating

Use vacuum deposition machine to coat AF film on the glass.

3.8 General cleaning and washing

Generally after every step of procedure, there should be a cleaning or washing.

This is what we have in this post. If you want to know more about glass, just contact us!

Note: We do not own the images used in this post. Feel free to contact us if they belong to you, and we’ll take them down as quickly as we possibly can.

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