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A Look at Options for Decorating Flat Glass

(May 2007) posted on Tue May 15, 2007

This article examines the flat-glass manufacturing process and explores several decorating methods that you can use to crack into this large market.


By Wim Zoomer

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Glass is just an everyday object for many of us—one that we rarely stop to consider. By nature, we are inclined to look through it rather than at it. Glass is confusing, as it is neither a liquid with a disordered collection of molecules, nor a solid that comprises a motionless formation of molecules. Glass exhibits definite characteristics of both and is typically classified as an amorphous solid.

A unique characteristic of glass is that it is one of the most transparent solid substances on earth. People do not realize this phenomenon, as they just look through a window, instead of observing the window glass to confirm this special characteristic.

If we take a closer look at flat glass in general, we may ascertain that people can look through the glass. Meanwhile, the glass helps maintain the climate inside the building, providing the desired comfort and protecting against undesired atmospheric influences.

Glass can easily be processed by simply modifying its surface properties or by changing its shape by way of high-temperature bending, forming, slumping, or fusing. Among other things, flat glass is an integral part of architectural objects (Figure 1), automotive components, gaming machines, appliances, and art objects. The possibilities seem endless when you consider all of these potential applications and the ways in which you can decorate the glass. Let's examine some of the basics associated with the production of glass panels. Then, we'll discuss some of the ways you can decorate the surface of this unique medium.

The float-glass process

In 1952, Alastair Pilkington was washing the dishes when a plate moved for a short period of time across the surface of some water on a countertop. Pilkington wondered if this effect—the principle of floating—could help him produce flat glass.


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