Science: Float Glass

Seven years ago Alastair Pilkington, a glass expert, whose father Sir Harry is chief of Britain's great Pilkington glass company, was helping his wife wash dishes. Watching the suds floating on the dishwater, he got an idea that is likely to revolutionize the manufacture of flat glass. Last week Alastair Pilkington explained his "float glass" process in the New Scientist.

Ordinary window glass is made by drawing a wide ribbon of glass vertically from a reservoir of syrupy melted glass. It cools in the air and has a brilliant "fire finish." But the process of drawing produces stresses that make flaws and...

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