Working glass at Corning

May 6, 2013: 8:11 AM ET
FIO20 corning glass

In the applied materials lab at Corning, researchers mix glass to scientists' specifications, pulling it out of 2,912° F ovens and pouring it into a platinum container to cool.


To make glass is to know failure. A glassmaker begins with powders of oxides, stirring them into a platinum crucible, then sticking the batch in an oven heated to 2,912° F, where the oxides liquefy into a molten state. He then removes the crucible, and the liquid cools and hardens into glass -- an amorphous solid. A team analyzes its chemical makeup and "seeds" (a.k.a. bubbles). But to really know glass, to get a sense of its strength, you must break it. So someone bends and hammers and sometimes throws baseballs at the glass until it scratches or cracks or shatters. He studies the fractures, which reveal the glass's secrets. Glass fails, the researchers learn from the failure, and the cycle repeats.

Join the Conversation

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.