Looking to optimize your plastic products?
Glass powder might be the perfect material to add to your solution.
It provides plastics with a full new range of properties. Challenge glass!

Opportunity Lab

High performance plastic with thermal stability

For the most part, today’s smartphones are made of very fine sensors, sensitive electronic components and tiny antennae. To ensure unrestricted operability for these components, processed adhesives must be able to withstand assorted thermal conditions and not catch on fire. New glass fillers allow these properties and can offer manufacturers of electronics and their components a wide range of possibilities for product innovation. For fillers, special glass can be ground up as a powder and then mixed in with plastics or adhesives.

For the most part, today’s smartphones are made of very fine sensors, sensitive electronic components and tiny antennae. To ensure unrestricted operability for these components, processed adhesives must be able to withstand assorted thermal conditions and not catch on fire. New glass fillers allow these properties and can offer manufacturers of electronics and their components a wide range of possibilities for product innovation. For fillers, special glass can be ground up as a powder and then mixed in with plastics or adhesives.

Lighter, sturdier, thinner

In many industries, the need for lighter materials increasingly plays an important role in product development. Yet, at the same time, the mechanical properties also need to be improved; the industry wants products that are very thin but that are also extremely robust. In many cases, wafer-thin plastic films are the perfect response to these consumer demands. When used as special fillers, glass powder offers many options in terms of providing films with specific additional features or in optimizing their properties.

In many industries, the need for lighter materials increasingly plays an important role in product development. Yet, at the same time, the mechanical properties also need to be improved; the industry wants products that are very thin but that are also extremely robust. In many cases, wafer-thin plastic films are the perfect response to these consumer demands. When used as special fillers, glass powder offers many options in terms of providing films with specific additional features or in optimizing their properties.

Truly beautiful

Believe it or not, glass powder is also used in cosmetic and cosmeceutical applications in the form of special bioactive glass. The unique biocom­patibility properties of this glass can help to reduce skin redness and visibility of wrinkles. How does it work? Bioactive glass powder contains only natural elements which can be found in the human body, such as calcium, silicon, sodium, phosphorus and oxygen. When activated with water, bioactive glass powder releases ions which form a mineral structure on particle surfaces, equivalent to naturally-occurring hydroxyapatite.

Believe it or not, glass powder is also used in cosmetic and cosmeceutical applications in the form of special bioactive glass. The unique biocom­patibility properties of this glass can help to reduce skin redness and visibility of wrinkles. How does it work? Bioactive glass powder contains only natural elements which can be found in the human body, such as calcium, silicon, sodium, phosphorus and oxygen. When activated with water, bioactive glass powder releases ions which form a mineral structure on particle surfaces, equivalent to naturally-occurring hydroxyapatite.

For a brilliant smile

Practically everyone dreams of having a perfect smile. And now you can with the use of glass powder. When it comes to performing esthetic dental restorations, the primary materials used are composites, glass ionomer cements and compomers. What is the main component in these dental fillings? Glass! In some cases, up to 80 percent of these composites are made up of high purity glass powder. More importantly, this special powder is characterized by several critical properties – transparency, particle size, purity and X-ray visibility.

Practically everyone dreams of having a perfect smile. And now you can with the use of glass powder. When it comes to performing esthetic dental restorations, the primary materials used are composites, glass ionomer cements and compomers. What is the main component in these dental fillings? Glass! In some cases, up to 80 percent of these composites are made up of high purity glass powder. More importantly, this special powder is characterized by several critical properties – transparency, particle size, purity and X-ray visibility.

SCHOTT Material Expert
Dr. Jörg
Schuhmacher
…on opportunities and perspectives for composites with glass fillers.

What problems can be resolved?

Glass polymer composites combine the best characteristics from both materials worlds creating a single solution. Glass can distinguish itself with its optical, (di) electric and mechanical properties as well as its bioactivity and flame retardant qualities. Glass fillers can transform the thermal stability and can influence the elongation properties of the underlying polymer matrix. At the same time, the plastic components overcome the disadvantages of glass - its breakage behavior, its high density and weight, not to mention the necessary high temperatures needed for molding it. Composites can offer solutions for applications, especially those where pure materials can create problems and product performance suffers. In addition, new application options can be explored.

What are the (potential) application areas?

Bioactive glass for cosmetic products and inert glass for dental composites, where the adjustment of the refraction index and the radiopacity of the glass are systematically utilized for excellent product performance. There are also application opportunities for glass polymer composites in sensor applications, for electromagnetic radiation and in laser technology. In lithium ion batteries chemically reactive glass powder is applied to separators as a stabilizer, supporting that when a battery becomes damaged it does not burst into flames or explode; it can also intercept harmful substances such as noxious hydrogen fluoride that appears when there is moisture in the battery, thus increasing their life cycle. In the next generation of lithium batteries, where newly developed solid-state electrolytes are set to replace the current fluid electrolytes, glass ceramic powder plays an important role due to its special ion conductivity.

What are the outstanding challenges?

On one hand, there is the particle size of the glass powder, which can reach into the nanometer range. On the other hand, there is the surface condition. Several physical properties, as a prerequisite, must be precisely defined. For example, tomorrow’s high performance batteries will incorporate ion-conducting glass ceramic particles in an ion-conducting polymer matrix. Both materials must achieve the charge transfer. However, there can be absolutely no resistance from the interfaces of both materials. If we have achieved this – we will have taken a major step forward for the applications of next generation batteries.

The best of both worlds

Two material worlds join forces resulting in a composite with extremely impressive properties. When glass powder is added to the mix, polymer-based construction materials, textile fibers, foams, pastes and casting compounds take on glass functionalities as a “bonus”. The partnership ensures improved abrasion resistance, reduced wear as well as a higher chemical resistance. Glass powders are also able to release optical functionalities in plastics, including filter properties such as protection from harmful UV rays or heat absorption. Both transparent and colored composites can be produced in addition to achieving improved color brilliance. Electrical properties are also optimized.

Two material worlds join forces resulting in a composite with extremely impressive properties. When glass powder is added to the mix, polymer-based construction materials, textile fibers, foams, pastes and casting compounds take on glass functionalities as a “bonus”. The partnership ensures improved abrasion resistance, reduced wear as well as a higher chemical resistance. Glass powders are also able to release optical functionalities in plastics, including filter properties such as protection from harmful UV rays or heat absorption. Both transparent and colored composites can be produced in addition to achieving improved color brilliance. Electrical properties are also optimized.

Rethinking glass: For all that seems possible and impossible.

Glass offers innovative solutions for numerous ideas and projects. It enjoys having the most versatile properties imaginable, which can be changed and adapted as is required. Thus, there is a high potential for innovation, which can lead to entirely new application areas coming into use. It is what makes glass one of the most versatile materials for the future.

Maximize the innovative potential which glass has to offer.

Material Development
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Designing materials for today’s and tomorrow’s customer needs: optical and technical glass, glass ceramics and special materials e.g. powders, ceramics, sol-gel ....
Melting
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New and optimized processes/technologies: for melting special glass and glass ceramics via lab experiments, test bed facility and modeling.
Hot Forming
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Expert for hot processes after melting: especially forming processes of glass directly from the melt and reshaping of glass by reheating.
Coating Development
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Development of new functionalities for glass and glass ceramics via advanced coating and surface modification which allows glass to be more transparent, harder and scratch resistant.
Laser Processing
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Identification, development and adoption of unique processing technologies: for cutting, structuring, shaping, joining or modifying edges and glass bodies; for filamentation and ablation, laser-induced scribing and cleaving, bending (uniaxial or multiaxial-3D), intrinsic decoration, marking and layer structuring.

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