Glass and Ceramics

Glass in Industry

Certainly glass is one of the most important and fascinating material since ancient times, although in a physical sense the description ‘glass’ might be misleading. Nowadays the description ‘glass’ is more commonly used as a synonym for a state of aggregation between fluid and solid. But this particular property of glass makes it a universal material, which can be used for countless applications.

In order to meet the requirements of its later use different types of material are mixed or dissolved in the raw glass. This process as well as the raw material analysis can be monitored by X-ray fluorescence analysis (XRF), depending on elements and concentration ranges either by EDXRF S2 PUMA or WDXRF S6 JAGUAR.

To perform a non-destructive analysis of glass in its final state or metallic coatings, or to perform an analysis of the spatial distribution of particular elements of interest, the micro-XRF technology such as the M4 TORNADO, the M4 TORNADO PLUS or the QUANTAX Micro-XRF for SEM are well suited analysis methods.

If higher spatial resolution is required, scanning and transmission electron microscopes (SEM and TEM) provide extremely high resolution and the opportunity to use the Bruker QUANTAX system to perform energy dispersive spectrometry (EDS) for inorganic material analysis. Using the wavelength-dispersive spectrometer QUANTAX WDS, challenging materials in the low energy or light element range can be better determined due to its excellent energy resolution and light element sensitivity. Using the SEM based QUANTAX EBSD (electron backscattered diffraction) system, crystal orientation maps can be acquired to understand the crystallography and phase boundaries, and study deformations in materials.

Exactly the fundamental property of the ‘glassy state’ anticipates that traditional X-ray diffraction (XRD) provides sensible structure information – glass does not have a long-range order as present in crystalline material. µ-XRD with the D8 DISCOVER can help to characterize spurious inclusions found in glass because they are typically formed by crystalline material.

Frequently raw glass as well as metal is coated for various reasons. The coating might be anticorrosive, harden the surface, may reflect thermal radiation or any other type of light, or simply ennoble the underlying material.
Grazing incidence X-ray diffraction (GID) with the D8 ADVANCE helps to determine unambiguously the crystalline composition of the coating. X-ray Reflectometry (XRR) and micro-XRF technologies enable non-destructive determination of the layer thickness, even for sub-surfaces layers.

Automization of Glass Production & Recycling using XRF

Glasses are produced with different properties depending on the requirements of the application that they will be used in. Specific glass properties, such as mechanical strengths, electrical conductivities, and more, can be selected for by the addition of different additives, which are mixed with the raw glass. XRF allows for the precise measurement of the concentration of the materials used to produce a specific glass, allowing the fine-tuning of glass properties.

The XMS from Bruker Nano Analytics, for automated XRF measurements on production and sorting lines, allows industries to automate the monitoring of additive concentrations during the glass production process. This brings benefits in efficiency as well as product quality, by allowing operators to promptly correct mixing recipes during production. In addition, the XMS can also be used on the quality control line to ensure produced glasses are of the correct constitution prior to shipment.

The benefits that automated XRF deliver should be of particular interest to the glass recycling industry, where the sorting of different types of glass is required. Automated sorting machinery benefits from the integration of the XMS, allowing for the accurate classification of each glass' type prior to recycling.