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Name: Tasman
Status: student
Grade: 6-8
Location: OR
Country: USA
Date: Fall 2013

Does the thickness of glass affect if it will break under heat stresses? On a heat lamp, if it cools too quickly or gets too hot too quickly, what would happen? What if I thickened the glass. Would it crack under the stresses, or would it shatter and start a fire. I am doing an Inventiprize contest in my area where we improve an invention. My idea is thickening the glass on heat lamps so it does not shatter and start a fire. Would that work? Would it shatter, crack, or be perfectly fine. If it would work about how much would I have to thicken the glass?

Hi Tasman,

Thanks for the question. Yes, the thickness of glass will affect the breakage characteristics of glass when a heat stress is applied. The general rule that I tell my student in my lab classes is that thick glass should not be heated since the heating is not usually uniform. The non-uniform temperature causes different parts of the glass to expand at different rates and this leads to stresses in the glass and possible breakage. Glass does not burn, so glass will not create a fire unless hot glass is in contact with combustible materials. In my laboratory work, I have observed both fracturing and shattering of glass. When working with glass, I recommend wearing safety goggles (not safety glasses), leather gloves, long sleeve shirt, long hair put up, long pants, and closed toed shoes. The above is some general principles. As to the specifics of how to improve the performance of a product, you will have to do some Internet research and then some trial and error experimentation. I would recommend spending several hours searching for information on the Internet so as to minimizes the experimentation costs.

I hope this helps. Thanks Jeff Grell

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