Float Glass: Hybrid Glass
Float glass is a type of glass very different in comparison to your average glass formation. Float glass is a distant relative of normal glass because it is composed of multiple components, including: dolomite, limestone, soda ash, and of course sand. Because it is constructed with all these raw materials it is radically different than standard glass; it is a hybrid, if you will, because it has characteristics of many materials, kind of like how a pink rose would be considered a hybrid between a red rose and a white rose.
You may wonder how float glass got the name “Float glass.” The word “float” represents the process of how the glass is actually made, in which the glass literally floats through a pool of molten tin, ironic isn’t it? It’s quite cool how it actually works.
What happens is that numerous materials (limestone, dolomite, etc.) are added to sand, mixed together, and then inserted into a tremendously hot specialized furnace. Once the new molten mixture is hot enough, it is placed in a body of molten (liquid) tin, which must look pretty cool considering it would resemble a metallic pool that you probably wouldn’t want to swim in; one might get burned. Some chemical characteristic(s) about tin prevents the two substances from mixing, resulting in a perfectly smooth piece of glass that eventually floats upward through the pool of molten tin. The newly concocted “Float glass” can then be molded to fit a desired shape/size/width by using a rolling machine, similar to how you would roll a piece of doe with a rolling pin.
Float glass is nice because it is as smooth as glass, or anything for that matter can get. As you might assume, float glass is often the desired choice to use for window panes because it is not only flawlessly smooth but affordable as well. It is also rather hefty and not easily damaged.