Scientists from Germany have come up with a new way of glass production – it is cheap and environmentally friendly. The method allows you to make even small parts of glass.
The researchers explained that glass is used in high-tech products in the fields of optics, telecommunications, chemistry, medicine, and everyday items such as bottles and windows. However, glass production is mainly based on processes such as melting, grinding, or etching. For decades, these processes have existed, are technologically complex, energy-intensive, and highly limited in terms of the forms they can implement. Scientists from the University of Freiburg in Germany wanted to solve this problem.
Thanks to their Glassomer injection molding technology, special granules can now be used to produce glass with high flow rates at temperatures as low as 130 ° C. The cast components are then transformed from a 3D printer into glass by a heat treatment process; the result is pure quartz glass. This process requires less energy than conventional glass melting, resulting in energy efficiency and fewer emissions.
The researchers added that this is how they solved preexisting problems in glass casting, such as porosity and the particles’ abrasion. Also, the new method’s key technical steps were developed with the use of water as the main material, making the technology more environmentally friendly and durable.
“We see great potential, especially for small high-tech glass components. Along with transparency, the very low coefficient of expansion of quartz glass makes the technology interesting. Sensors and optics work reliably at any temperature as long as key components are made of glass, ”added the researchers.