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Glass is a non-crystalline amorphous solid that is often transparent and has widespread practical, technological, and decorative usage in, for example, window panes, tableware, and optoelectronics.
The surface of a glass is often smooth since during glass formation the molecules of the supercooled liquid are not forced to dispose in rigid crystal geometries and can follow surface tension, which imposes a microscopically smooth surface.
Although brittle, silicate glass is extremely durable, and many examples of glass fragments exist from early glass-making cultures.
Because glass can be formed or moulded into any shape, it has been traditionally used for vessels: bowls, vases, bottles, jars and drinking glasses.
Some objects historically were so commonly made of silicate glass that they are simply called by the name of the material, such as drinking glasses and eyeglasses.
Scientifically, the term "glass" is often defined in a broader sense, encompassing every solid that possesses a non-crystalline (that is, amorphous) structure at the atomic scale and that exhibits a glass transition when heated towards the liquid state.
Soda-lime glass for mass production is melted in gas fired units.
Smaller scale furnaces for specialty glasses include electric melters, pot furnaces, and day tanks.
The soda makes the glass water-soluble, which is usually undesirable, so lime (Ca O, calcium oxide, generally obtained from limestone), some magnesium oxide (Mg O) and aluminium oxide (Al Most common glass contains other ingredients to change its properties.
Lead glass or flint glass is more "brilliant" because the increased refractive index causes noticeably more specular reflection and increased optical dispersion. Thorium oxide gives glass a high refractive index and low dispersion and was formerly used in producing high-quality lenses, but due to its radioactivity has been replaced by lanthanum oxide in modern eyeglasses.
The recycled glass saves on raw materials and energy.
Impurities in the cullet can lead to product and equipment failure.
The term glass, in popular usage, is often used to refer only to this type of material, which is familiar from use as window glass and in glass bottles.