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Thinner and stronger glass for sustainable production and consumption

Chemical strengthening is being investigated with the purpose to get a better understanding for the complex mechanisms of the process and in the future create thinner and stronger glass for a sustainable and resource efficient society.

United Nation's global goals for sustainable development include health and well-being, sustainable industry, innovations, sustainable consumption and production and fight climate change. Glass as a material has the ability to contribute to the solution of several of these societal challenges. Today, more glass than ever is used in buildings because of the transparency of glass, which lets sunlight into buildings and increases human well-being. Glass has also gained increased use through displays and solar energy, while glass packaging loses market share against plastic, mainly because it is a heavier material. Glass is energy-intensive to manufacture and in order to manufacture thinner glass products, the glass needs to be made stronger. Chemical strengthening of glass is an old invention but has relatively recently achieved proper commercial success. However, the understanding of chemical strengthening is still not complete in terms of several aspects and depends on the complexity of the process and its mechanisms. Through a better understanding of the mechanisms, the possibilities of improving chemical strengthening are opened up. The research to develop stronger and thinner glass will give rise to:

- Reduced emissions and carbon footprint
- Energy saving
- Lower transportation costs
- Innovative products

Thinner and lighter glass with the half thickness will save approximately 0.1 kWh / kg glass in energy at production and but also when transporting glass products. This can be put in the context that, globally, 72.1 million windscreens are produced for passenger cars annually and that in total about 35 million tonnes of glass are produced every year in Europe. In 2015, approximately 6 billion squaremeters of flat glass was produced in the world (4 times London's surface!). Glass has many advantages and is an environmentally friendly material because it is easy to recycle. With stronger glass, the glass can also be used in new applications where greater demands are made on strength, for example as load-bearing glass in architecture.


Summary

Project name

Thinner and stronger glass

Status

Active

RISE role in project

Project owner

Project start

Duration

3 years

Total budget

3 million SEK

Partner

Uppsala Universitet, Department of Engineering Sciences, Solid State Physics

Funders

FORMAS - Swedish Research Council for Sustainable Development

Coordinators

Supports the UN sustainability goals

12. Responsible consumption and production
Stefan Karlsson

Contact person

Stefan Karlsson

Scientist PhD

Read more about Stefan

Contact Stefan

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