The flat glass produced by the float glass process has a tin-rich surface due to the contact with molten tin. The penetration of tin into the glass surface is assumed to involve coupled diffusion of stannous (Sn2+) and stannic (Sn4+) ions. The diffusion coefficients of these ions were calculated using the modified Stocks–Einstein relation with the oxidation velocity of stannous ions depending on the oxygen activity in the glass. The ion diffusion was analyzed using a coupled diffusion simulation with a modified diffusion coefficient to compensate for the negative effect of the glass ribbon’s stretching or compressing in the glass forming process. Tin penetration simulations for both green glass and clear glass show an internal local tin concentration maximum in green glass which is quite different from that in clear glass. The local maximum in the profile is associated with the accumulation of stannic ions where the greatest oxygen activity gradient occurs. Since more float time is needed in the manufacture of thicker glass plate, the tin penetrates to a greater depth with the maximum deeper in the glass and the size of the maximum larger for thicker glass.
naturally. Floating is possible because the density of a typical soda-lime-silica glass (~2.3 g/cm3) is much less than that of tin (~6.5 g/cm3) at the process temperature. After cooling and annealing, glass sheets with uniform thicknesses in the ~1–25 mm range and flat surfaces are produced. The ultra clear float glass process is used to produce virtually all window glass as well as mirrors and other items that originate from flat glass. Since float glass is ordinarily soda-lime-silica, the reference temperatures and behavior of this glass are used in the discussion below.
Figure 3.48 shows the basic layout of the clear float glass line. The glass furnace is a horizontal type, as described above. For a float line, the glass furnace is typically on the order of ~150 ft long by 30 ft wide and holds around 1200 tons of glass. To achieve good chemical homogeneity, the glass is heated to ~1550–1600°C in the furnace, but is then brought to about 1100–1200°C in the forehearth. From there, the glass flows through a channel over a refractory lipstone or spout onto the tin bath.
The thickness of the tinted float glass sheet is adjusted by controlling flow onto the tin bath as well as by tension exerted along the length of the bath by rollers in the annealing lehr and sometimes by rollers in the bath unit itself. In the Pilkington design, the melt enters the bath and spreads out laterally to a thickness near the equilibrium value. If a sheet thicker than the equilibrium is required, then this spreading is constrained with physical barriers. If a sheet thinner than equilibrium is needed.Regulating the flow of the wired glass is important at this stage, both from the entry point and the lateral flow. The glass flow onto the tin bath is regulated by a gate, called a tweel, which is located in the canal between the forehearth and spout. The glass flows down the spout or lipstone onto the tin surface. There is some pressure driving this flow through the gap of the tweel. See Example 3.14. As the glass flows onto the tin bath, the thickness of the glass sheet depends on how that flow is controlled laterally and along the length of the bath. The first step to understanding thickness control is to examine the equilibrium thickness.