Diary of a Demented Store Owner

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Glass- Liquid or Solid? The Definitive Answer Here

So, what is it this mysterious substance we call glass? 
Is it a solid?
Is it a liquid? 
      Do four out of five dentists recommend it? (Which makes you wonder who visits that one out of five dentist, and what does he recommend?...Ed) Let's join hands and explore the subject together. 
      Okay, let's assume it's a liquid for a minute. It has to be, right? We've all heard the stories about pulling glass out of old windows and how the pieces were all thicker at the bottom proving that the glass was slowly flowing downward. Heck, the way the glass was flowing pretty soon all our churches will have their sanctuaries full of puddles of flowing stained glass windows. You'll have to step over the Good Shepherd and his sheep to get to your pew! With all those uncovered windows with all their cancer causing light streaming through them congregations will be forced to take communion wearing Vuarnet sunglasses and wearing sunscreen. Actually it's a sham. Old glass is typically mouth blown and therefore varies sometimes quite significantly in thickness, disproving the notion that glass might be a liquid.
      Well if it's not a liquid then it stands to reason that it's a solid, right? Webster's Dictionary defines a solid as "a substance of definite shape and volume; not liquid or gas." There you go, problem solved. But, hey, wait a minute. Isn't something a solid only when its molecules are motionless and lined up in flawless geometric fashion, like your grandma's furniture doilies. We call this "crystalline" (the solid, not grandma's doilies, unless she seldom washed them). A liquid on the other hand is quite the opposite. Its molecules are constantly in motion and entirely random in structure. Well, what do we do now? It seems then that according to the scientist, glass is neither a solid or liquid because its molecules are motionless (like a solid) but random in configuration (like a liquid)- so we'll call it a liquid? Actually a better word is vitreous.
      If you look around there's lots of stuff that's sometimes a liquid and sometimes a solid. Take that stuff wrapped in foil at the back of your fridge for example. Or water. Or iron. At any given moment, their state depends on their temperature. Water's molecular structure is random until the temperature moves down to zero Celsius (how come they don't use centigrade?) when its molecules start to crystallize- namely, line up in perfect lattice-like order and stop moving. Below zero and bingo, now it's a solid. And the amazing thing is that zero degrees is like a light switch. Above it's a liquid, below, it's a solid. But vitreous substances (like glass in case you've been sleeping until this very moment) do not have a freezing or melting point. As temperature decreases the free flowing molecules in molten glass simply slow down to the point where they just won't move anymore. But they stay random with no crystallization occurring. Got it? 
      So, glass then is neither a liquid nor a solid, but it's sleazy and exhibits definite characteristics of both. You might say we now have Four States of Matter instead of three- liquid, solid, gas and glass.
      While we are the largest stained glass and fusing supplier in Canada, there are one or two people out there who may not know that. We've sadly had some competitors close most recently and there has been a lot of calls from those who have never darkened our door. So for those sadly unaware people, here's pics of our Sale Square Racks (WITH OVER 10,00 PIECES) as they stood on May 19, 2012;


FusedLight said...

A couple of thoughts... the old "Thicker on the Bottom" thing was caused by the installers looking at the sheets of hand-blown glass and saying "Gee, I'd bet these would be less likely to fall out if the heavy bit was at the bottom." Of course, trust that the work of Honest Labourers was be misinterpreted by pie-in-the-sky academicians a couple of centuries later.

"Vitreous"? That word is, and should be, reserved for the surface appearance of glass and glass-like (i.e. obsidian) substances.

"No Movement" doesn't really cut it. If the temperature of ANYTHING is above 0 Kelvin (the REAL zero point = -273.15 C). A "solid" really is defined by keeping it shape on all surface. Gas = Fills a container with NO surface. Liquid = fills a container with ONE free surface. Solid = just sits there in a lump. Needs no container. So... glass is NOT a liquid. And, no, there is NOT a fourth state of matter (well, actually, there is. It's called "plasma". And don't get me started on Bose–Einstein condensates. Really... just don't go there.)

Thank you for allowing me to avoid programming. I really didn't want to start on that this early in the morning. Tied in with my son coming over for baked beans on toast at lunch I'm off to a good week!

Doris said...

If we find Figimodo in the pictures do we get a prize?