On the flexural strength and stiffness of cast glass

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Cast glass has great potential for diverse load-bearing, architectural applications; through casting, volumetric glass components can be made that take full advantage of glass’s stated compressive strength. However, the lack of engineering, production and quality control standards for cast glass and the intertwined ambiguities over its mechanical properties-particularly due to the variety in chemical compositions and the lack of understanding of the influence of flaws occurring in the glass bulk-act as an impediment to its wide-spread application. Addressing the above uncertainties, this work studies a total of 64 silicate-based glass specimens, prepared in 20 * 30 * 350 mm beam size, either by kiln-casting at relatively low forming temperatures (970–1120 ∘C), or by modification of industrially produced glass. For the kiln-casting of the specimens, pure and contaminated recycled cullet are used, either individually or in combination (composite glasses). The defects introduced in the glass specimens during the casting process are identified with digital microscopy and qualitative stress analysis using cross polarized light, and are categorized as stress-inducing, strength-reducing or harmless. The Impulse Excitation Technique is employed to measure the Young’s modulus and internal friction of the different glasses. Differential Scanning Calorimetry is used on a selection of glasses, to investigate changes in the glass transition range and fictive temperature of the kiln-cast glasses due to the slower cooling and prolonged annealing. The four-point bending experiments are shedding light upon the flexural strength and stiffness of the different glasses, while the fractographic analysis pinpoints the most critical defects per glass category. The experiments show the flexural strength of cast glass ranging between 30–73 MPa, according to the level of contamination and the chemical composition. The measured E moduli by both methods are in close agreement, ranging between 60–79 GPa. The comparison of the flexural strength with prior testing of cast glass involving shorter span fixtures showed a decreasing strength with increasing size for the contaminated specimens, but similar strengths for pure compositions. The results highlight the versatile role of defects in determining the glass strength and the complexity that arises in creating statistical prediction models and performing quality control.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-194
Number of pages48
JournalGlass Structures and Engineering
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Cast glass
  • Glass contamination
  • Glass defects
  • Glass flexural strength
  • Mechanical properties of glass
  • Recycling of glass waste


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