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National Science Week is an annual celebration of science and technology in Australia. It happens every year in August and has more than 1000 events around the country, delivered by different types of organisations such as universities, schools, research institutions, libraries, museums and science centres.

The school theme for National Science Week in 2022 will be “Glass: More than meets the eye.” This is to celebrate the United Nations International Year of Glass, Celebrating the past, present and future of glass for a sustainable, equitable and better tomorrow.

In helping to celebrate National Science Week, we thought we could bring our expertise to this year’s school theme – Glass. Redox are very active in this market with a customer base of roughly 154 assorted customers specialising in producing glass products. 

Being a leading chemical and ingredients distributor, we supply our customers with various products to help them produce hundreds, if not thousands, of products made of glass.

What are some of the chemicals we supply?

Materials such as: 

  • Dense Soda Ash, 
  • Boric acid, 
  • Borax and,
  • Potassium Carbonate,
  • Monobutyltin Trichloride,
  • Sodium Sulphate.

Are all used in the manufacturing of glass products. But, how are these chemicals used in glass products?

Let’s look a little closer – Monobutyltin Trichloride.

Monobutyltin Trichloride or MBTC’s most critical application area is glass coating. MBTC is used to increase the scratch resistance of glass. A tin oxide coating is applied that closes microcracks and improves resistance to physical effects. It’s an essential raw material for this coating.

In the production of flat glass, for example, it’s combined with other ingredients in a uniform formulation that creates an even and thin layer.

Glass in mobile phone

Steve Jobs, the late Apple CEO and innovator known for his innovative genius in technology, sought out Corning’s help to make a screen that would be thin yet durable. Then they came up with Gorilla Glass, which dominates mobile device sales today because it can withstand drops up five feet without breaking or sustaining any damage!

It’s also used to coat containers (bottles, glasses, etc.), where Monobutyltin Trichloride is applied directly via gravity slides, which is depressed into the shape of the final bottle. The still hot bottles then pass through a coating stage where an MBTC vapour is sprayed on the hot surface, which is oxidised. This creates a layer of tin oxide, which forms the coating.

Another critical application the glass industry employs comes from Sodium Sulphate. It’s used as “fining agent” to help remove tiny air bubbles within molten glasses and prevent scum formation during refining. The chemical also fluxes the melts while it prevents melt segregation or caking on equipment by preventing negative interactions between components like acidity levels with base stocks such as silica sand.

Endlessly recyclable and natural

“We’ve been making glass for thousands of years, and we still don’t have a good idea of what it is,” says Mathieu Bauchy, a glass expert and materials researcher at UCLA. One thing we do know, unlike many other materials that become dangerous waste, glass can be recycled and refilled an infinite amount of times without losing clarity, purity or quality. 

Have a great National Science Week.

National Science Week

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