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Glass is produced when suitable rock melts at high temperature and cools rapidly. In nature this occurs during volcanic eruptions, meteorite impact or lightning. Natural glass was used for tools during the Stone Age. The start of deliberate glass production is recond to be about 3500 B.C., when the Egyptians first manufactured glass pearls. The Romans were the first to use glass windows. Today glass, nearly optically perfect, is mass-produced in float lines.
Modern building glass is supplied as soda lime silicate and borosilicate glass in several
designs. The material properties of the two are quite similar though borosilicate has a lower coefficient of thermal expansion and higher chemical resistance. Borosilicate is mainly used for fireproofing or heat protection. Building glass can be treated to achieve new surfaces, new designs, improved mechanical properties or other wanted qualities. The glass’ mechanical properties can be strengthened considerably by thermal or chemical toughening and/or laminating.