By in Science

Glass - a Supremely Viscous Liquid or a Solid?

When I was in secondary school, we were told glass is a liquid. It seems antique windows are thicker at the edge than in the middle.

But if you think with a clear mind for a moment, if the glass panes used in windows was actually a liquid, shouldn't it be thicker at the bottom and thinner at the center, but also thinner at the sides because a number of panes were cut from one sheet? How is that? Because the glass sheet was spun for thinness.

It is now known and accepted that glass actually is not a super-cooled liquid, but a true solid. This fact is but one of many facts that counter some of the teachings we received in school, quite dogmatically.

One of the ones I most often think of is the quaint notion that oil comes from rotting dinosaur carcasses plus organic matter, such as plants and leaves.

Image Credit » by psaudio

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Kasman wrote on September 19, 2015, 7:31 PM

If glass is a true solid then what's the explanation for old panes of glass being thicker at the bottom?

VinceSummers wrote on September 19, 2015, 7:58 PM

Plate glass was spun, so it was thicker toward the outer edges. It was one huge piece and cut, so one edge only was thick.

Feisty56 wrote on September 19, 2015, 8:58 PM

So what is the differentiation between a super-cooled liquid and a solid? Is hardened lava a super-cooled liquid or a solid?

DWDavisRSL wrote on September 19, 2015, 9:08 PM

I remember window panes in my grandmother's house having ripples in the glass where it appeared to be flowing from the top of the pane towards the bottom. I was told the ripples were caused because the glass was really a slow flowing liquid. Now I know better. These panes were made in the late 1800s and the ripples were always there. I suppose the windows didn't change until grandma's house burned down several years ago.

MegL wrote on September 20, 2015, 1:55 AM

A disorganised solid! Now, I love that phrase, I think it would refer to me!

jiangliu1949 wrote on September 20, 2015, 7:25 AM

An Interesting post ! We always accept what our teachers taught to us as being infallible ,however we find out that not everyting they taught is right with technology and science moving ahead.I have been thinking of how the dinosaur carcasses became fossils.

VinceSummers wrote on September 20, 2015, 8:23 AM

Aren't we all? I'm not stupid, but I am very disorganized. Not that I'm bragging. Good grief, no!

paigea wrote on September 20, 2015, 8:44 PM

I must have not been listening in school. I never heard that glass was a liquid.