Source International – Manufacturing Materials – Learning Center
Borosilicate is a kind of glass with boron trioxide and silica as the main components. Glasses made from this material, such as lab beakers or cookware, are known for having very low coefficients of thermal expansion making them more resistant to thermal shock than any other type of common glass. Borosilicate glass is sold under well-known trade names such as: Pyrex, Schott, Kimble, Simax, Suprax, Kimax, Heatex, and Endural.
Borosilicate is produced by incorporating boric oxide into the traditional glassmaking ingredients of soda, ground lime, and silica sand. As this material is more heat resistant, it melts at a higher temperature than ordinary glass, so new techniques utilizing burners combining oxygen with natural gas were required for industrial production. Depending on what type of product is to be manufactured, the manufacturing process can utilize methods such as moulding, tube drawing, or floating.
Borosilicate encompasses a wide range of uses from lab equipment to cookware to medical devices and more. Examples of products made from this material include:
- Beakers, test tubes, lab glass tubing, etc.
- Medical implantable devices and some prosthetics
- Injectable medication ampules and syringes
- MEMS – silicon wafer applications
- Measuring cups, baking pans, high-quality beverage glasses
- HID and metal halide lighting
- Flashlight lenses
- Astronomical telescopic glass lenses
- Aquarium heaters
- Guitar slides
- Thermal insulation tiles on the Space Shuttle
Interesting fact: Borosilicate glasses are used for disposal and immobilization of radioactive waste.