Soda-lime glass is one of the most common, most-used, and most-sought-after types and kinds of glass units in the industry. Because of how easy and simple it is to manufacture, many businesses and organizations stick with it as their material foundation.
Behind this curtain of advantages and benefits, there are also a couple of cons or drawbacks to using soda-lime glass, and that’s what we are going to talk about! We’ll unravel some of the considerations you want to take a look at before you go and decide on using soda-lime glass.
Other than that, we’ll also lay out information about who should use soda-lime glass, when it should be used, and how they should be taken advantage of.
What is Soda-Lime Glass?
Figure 1: An image of a cubed soda-lime glass product
For the sake of everyone, understanding the truth behind what soda-lime glass is, is relevant. So, before we jump into the discussion of what its advantages are, let us first unravel and find out what it is.
Soda-lime glass is a type of glass that’s made from the three-most common types of ingredients to make glass: soda (sodium carbonate), silica (silicon dioxide), and lime (calcium oxide). Also known as silica glass, it is the most prevalent, most popular, and most-used glass type in the world.
NOTE: About 90% of all manufactured glass products in the world are soda-lime glass.
Here’s a video that discusses the difference between soda-lime glass and borosilicate glass!
Does Soda-Lime Glass Break Easily?
Figure 2: Soda-lime glass tubes
This question is probably one of the many questions that have revolving myths around it, and to put an end to these myths, we’ll answer it. So, to answer the question– yes, soda-lime glass is relatively prone to breaking or shattering upon impact.
The reason for this is mainly due to the inherent brittleness, making it more fragile and delicate compared to other types of glass, such as borosilicate glass.
And though soda-lime glass is widely used in various applications due to its cost-effectiveness and optical clarity, it lacks the same level of durability and resistance to mechanical stress as more specialized glass types.
Check this video out by Garbo Glassware as they test out standard glass (soda-lime glass) in terms of heat resistance.
Is Soda-Lime Glass Safe?
Figure 3: A soda-lime glass sheet that is slightly thick with rough and unfinished edges
Yes, soda-lime glass is safe for use in everyday uses such as glass containers, windows, and glassware, especially drinking glasses. Since it is chemically inert, it doesn’t interact with or leak dangerous compounds into food, drinks, or the environment.
On the flipside, if you are talking about use safety, it might not be the best option to go for. It is not ideal for high-temperature applications or conditions involving significant stress or mechanical impact. In such instances, specialized glass types, such as borosilicate or aluminosilicate glass products, are more preferable.
Are Soda-Lime Glass Products Toxic-Free?
Figure 4: A soda-lime glass bottle that has been processed and finished–toxic-free.
Yes, soda-lime glass products are toxic-free. As a matter of fact, about 90% of all glass products in the US have been found to be soda-lime glass. The only matter for consideration would be its leakage of non-toxic trace minerals to whatever the contents area. This can be acidic in nature, and can impose a risk on some people.
Overall, though, it’s a non-toxic piece of material and can actually be your best option for food and beverage applications.
Are There Environmental Impacts With Soda-Lime Glass?
Yes, soda-lime glass is easily and readily recyclable and can be reused without imposing any risks. It is sustainable enough to be recycled and reused through softening, melting, and reforming it without decreasing its overall physical properties.
Compared to plastic, soda-lime glass is looked at as the better option when it comes to environmental impact.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Soda-Lime Glass
Figure 5: Tiny soda-lime glass vials that are probably used for laboratory and medical applications
In understanding how soda-lime glass can put you at a risk of disadvantage, it’s important to be aware of the different advantages of using the glass, too.
Now, let’s go ahead and discuss what the advantages and pros are of soda-lime glass, in conjunction with what its disadvantages are. Let’s start with its pros or advantages!
Advantages of Soda-Lime Glass
The following is the list of the pros or advantages of using soda-lime glass:
Cheap and Budget-Friendly
One of the main pros or advantages of soda-lime glass is its affordability. Thanks to its easy-to-find raw materials and resources, there’s no difficulty in manufacturing it, resulting to how cheap and affordable it can be to produce. Whether you need it for a special project or for everyday glassware, it’s a cost-effective option!
Safe and Non-Toxic
When it comes to storing food and beverages, you want something you can trust. Soda-lime glass is chemically inert, meaning it won’t mess with your food and beverage stashes. You can expect no funny tastes, no nasty surprises, just a safe and secure storage that can keep everything packed tightly.
Great Optical Transparency
These glasses are partly transparent across the solar spectrum’s near-ultraviolet, visible, and near-infrared portions (0.3-3 m). What this basically means is that they have good level of optical clarity and transparency.
Simple and Not Complicated
Soda-lime glass is the glass type that gives you a “what you see is what you get” vibe. Overall, its manufacturing process is straight and direct-to-the-point, without any added complications to it. Thanks to this, soda-lime glass products can be made to a wide array of products from glass bottles, windows, to windshields and other specialized pieces of equipment.
The manufacturing process is fast, easy, and can be done in a short time. This allows manufacturers to give fast and short lead times, which is a good position for clients and customers who are looking for them.
Workable and Machinable
Soda-lime glass is the type of glass that’s ultimately workable and machinable to the extent that they are not difficult to maneuver, transform, and modify. Regardless of their state, soda-lime glass is easy to work on and can transmit visible light quite effectively.
Soda-lime glass is one of those glass types that is highly recyclable, contributing to environmentally-friendly and sustainable efforts. After its use, it can be reprocessed and be used for another application that suits and fits it well.
Disadvantages of Soda-Lime Glass
Let us now dive deep and talk about some of the cons or drawbacks of using soda-lime glass. This is for you to be able to have a comparison of the two.
Brittle and Needs Thorough Care
If there’s one thing we love to complain about with soda-lime glass is its brittleness and weakness. It’s transparent and easy to manufacture, but what costs it is its strength and resilience. A little bump can cause scratches to it–or worse, cracks.
It Has a Greenish Tint
For the most part, soda-lime glass is known to have this greenish hue or tint on its edges, resulting from the iron content it has. It’s clear and virtually optically great, but if purity is what you’re after, soda-lime glass products might not be what you’re looking for.
Heavy and Thick
When we’re talking about glass, the thinner a product is, the better. When a glass product is thick, it’ll usually be heavy and denser, causing it to become more difficult to use and transport. Soda-lime glass is dense, typically denser than plastic. This added weight might be disadvantageous in situations where lightweight materials are needed, such as aircraft and some automobile components.
It Has No Thermal Sense
Unlike other glass products, soda-lime glass units are not the best when it comes to thermal insulation. In consumer terms, it wouldn’t be capable of keeping the temperature of drinks and food within the container. It’s great at making sure that your products are enclosed within a container, but not in terms of keeping temperature.
Not Great at Temperature Changes
Lastly would be rapid temperature shifts and changes. While not many glass types have this, soda-lime glass is not unbeknownst of this as well. When subjected to rapid change in temperature, it can crack and break, especially if kept at extreme temperatures, those that it can’t handle.
Those are the advantages and disadvantages of soda-lime glass. Its disadvantages are rather striking, but if placed beside its pros and advantages, it will not be as impacting as how it is.
What is Tempered Soda-Lime Glass?
Figure 6: A soda-lime glass tile
Tempered soda-lime glass is float glass that has been tempered for better and more enduring strength and protection. Standard soda-lime glass is chemically strengthened to heighten and increase the strength, but add the process of tempering in and the stress resistance, strength, and thermal shock resistance is increased.
Most tempered glass units are known to withstand basic damages, account for three to four times the strength of non-tempered silica or soda-lime glass. This alone is enough proof that soda-lime glass, just tempered, is strong and absolutely reliable.
Check this video out by Tasty, as they present the usual process of manufacturing soda-lime glass (before tempering).
Can I Put Hot Water in Soda-Lime Glass?
Even though soda-lime glass is initially chemically-strengthened, it is not heat proof. Yes, it’s safe to put boiling water, but exposing it to sudden temperature changes can result in thermal shock, which can then put the integrity of the glass at risk.
However, some sources say that it is safe, so long that the temperature of the water does not exceed the softening point of soda-glass, which is near 700 °C.
What Are the Most Common Applications of Soda-Lime Glass?
When it comes to the applications of soda-lime glass, it’s limitless. It does not have a specific industry it calls out to, most, if not all industries use glass. There are quite a few different industries that need it, but among the most common are:
- Food and Beverage
- Window, Windowpane, and Glass Doors
- Glassware and Labware
- Electrical and Electronics
- Natural Gas
These are the industries in which soda-lime glass units are often used. When it comes to specific devices, they vary and will depend on the need and the requirements of the client.
Which Soda-Lime Glass Manufacturers Can You Trust?
There are tens of thousands of soda-lime glass manufacturers in today’s time. In the Asian continent alone, you’ll find the vast majority of them, what more in other parts of the globe? If you, however, can’t seem to find a manufacturer you can bank on and trust, we here at GLASHern can help you out!
For more than a decade, we have been in the glassmaking and glass development industry, providing the best and highest quality of products and services a manufacturer can. Now, you might be wondering, what does GLASHern have to offer?
Why You Should Consider GLASHern As Your Soda-Lime Glass?
Besides our unrelenting knowledge, expertise, and experience, we’re also adept and skilled in the production of soda-lime glass, quartz glass, borosilicate glass, sapphire glass, and many other types of specialized glass you need!
With advanced and high-tech machines and equipment, you wouldn’t have doubts and second thoughts about choosing us as your go-to soda-lime glass manufacturing company.
- We have a dedicated research and development team that can make your plans come to life
- 14+ years of experience in the glassmaking industry
- All our designs are catchy and eye-catching, impressing customers and various organizations
- We are equipped with 9 certifications across the glassmaking industry
You won’t regret your decision of working with GLASHern for the soda-lime glass you want and need. It doesn’t matter what industry or business you are in, if you need soda-lime glass, customized soda-lime glass, regardless of the size and shape, we’ll make it happen for you!
Reach out to us and we’ll be more than happy to help you with what you need! Contact us and we’ll shoot a free estimate over to you!