Learn what's behind our clean room curtains!
How we make a plastic-like granulate into high-purity glass.
REVOLUTIONARY GLASS PRODUCTION
Glass outperforms polymers in many applications and is unmatched in its combination of high thermal, chemical stability paired with high transparency. However, today customers often use polymers instead of glass – because glass shaping is inherently more difficult than polymer shaping. Glassomer changes that.
Conventional glass manufacturing has reached its limits. Methods like grinding, etching, laser structuring, sol-gel processing and precision glass molding all suffer from major drawbacks such as limited design space, rough surfaces, high energy requirements and low glass quality. The Glassomer process unites almost unlimited freedom of design, feature sizes across one order of magnitude, low temperature processing, smooth surfaces and high quality glass in one process.
PRODUCING GLASS IN THE 21ST CENTURY THE GLASSOMER PROCESS
The disruptive Glassomer Technology for Glass Component Production.
01 - Making the Glassomer Composite
Depending on the process, the Glassomer composites are liquid (for 3D printing) or solid (for injection molding). To produce them, glass powder and organic binder matrix are combined in a first step. The effective compounding is key to ensure a homogeneous mix of liquids and solids. The process takes place under clean conditions to avoid the inclusion of dust into the materials.
02 - Shaping
In the second step, the solid composites are shaped by injection molding on a regular polymer injection molding machine at 130 °C with cycle times of a few seconds. The liquid composites are shaped by 3D printing or casting on molds. The shaped and hardened composite parts appear whitish due to the high solid loading. The parts behave like polymers so that the removal of sprues and supporting structures is easy. The effective compounding is key to ensure a homogeneous mix of liquids and solids. The process takes place under clean conditions to avoid the inclusion of dust into the materials.
03 - Sintering to glass
The shaped parts are processed in an oven at 600 °C to remove the binder. Glassomer managed to develop a binder mix that allows for processing of thick parts - 15 mm are regularly done, more is possible - without breaking. Parts are then sintered at 1300 °C to give high-purity, highly transparent fused silica parts of full density. The shape is fully retained and the shrinkage is perfectly isotropic and easy to calculate in our process. The effective compounding is key to ensure a homogeneous mix of liquids and solids. The process takes place under clean conditions to avoid the inclusion of dust into the materials.
High Quality fused Silica glass
Our fused silica is made from highest purity fused silica glass powders. Due our sintering process, we achieve a minimal amount of hydroxyl groups in the final glass. Our glass is highly transparent and due to our precision injection molding process, we achieve very smooth surfaces with minimal reflection losses.
Our glass contains no metallic impurities and color (E’) centers below 260 nm.
UV-Transmission @ 200 nm: 84 %
VIS-Transmission @ 300-1000 nm: >92 %
INFRARED (IR) TRANSMISSION
Our glass contains a minimal amount of hydroxyl groups, comparable to commercial fused quartz.
IR-Transmission @ 1000-3400 nm: >90 %
Bending strength: 115 MPa
Vickers Hardness: 980 HV
Therm. Expansion: 0.52 x 10-6 1/K
Static contact angle with water: 36 °
Surface energy: 60 mN/m