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For my project, I have studied glass. Glass has an almost infinite number of uses in the modern day, but many people take it for granted and never actually think why it is so we suited to its many tasks.

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Introduction

Physics Speech For my project, I have studied glass. Glass has an almost infinite number of uses in the modern day, but many people take it for granted and never actually think why it is so we suited to its many tasks. I will look mainly into glass' optical properties, but will also cover a few of its other many uses. I will start by looking at its chemical make up to find out why it is such a versatile material. Chemically speaking, glass is a very interesting. Glass is primarily made of silicon dioxide, the chemical found in quartz sand, commonly known as silica. A silica molecule results from the covalent bond between the silicon and the oxygen atoms. Crystalline silica forms a regular three-dimensional lattice, with each silicon atom forming a covalent bond with four oxygen atoms, making its primary structure tetrahedral in shape. To convert the silicon dioxide to glass, it must first be heated to 1713�C so that it melts. ...read more.

Middle

As I mentioned before, glass has an almost infinite number of uses. It is therefore adapted in many ways to its task, so that can meet the specifications needed. When glass is industrially manufactured, metal oxides are added to the silicon dioxide before it is burnt, to lower it's melting point. This is because raising any material to 1713�C takes sophisticated, expensive equipment and also a lot of time. Therefore by adding compounds such as calcium oxide and in the case of optical glass sodium oxide, commonly known as soda. With the addition of only 25% soda, the melting point can be lowered to 793�C. This addition does have drawbacks though. The soda actually alters the chemical composition of the glass by breaking some of the irregular rings. This then weakens the material. As glass is amorphous, it can't undergo slip, as no planes are present. This then means if glass is bent it cannot absorb the energy into its atomic structure, but rather breaks bonds leading to a fracture. ...read more.

Conclusion

This enables lenses, which focus light, to be made of glass, with applications in spectacles, telescopes, microscopes, and cameras. The refractive index is different for different colours; by combining lenses of different glasses, achromatic compound lenses can be made with the same focal length for all colours. Glasses that are transparent to infrared radiation over distances of tens of kilometres or more are the basis of almost all telecommunications. Optical fibres work by using the total internal reflection of infrared light. The fibres are made of two types of glass; and inner core through which the light reflects, and an outer cladding layer. Where these two types of glass meet the light reflects, and therefore moves along the fibre at a very high pace. A single pair of optical fibres, only just bigger than a strand of human hair, can transmit over 50, 000 telephone conversations simultaneously with no interference and little resistance, compared to only 24 telephone conversations in metal wires. ...read more.

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