Do you know the difference between glass and crystal?

April 10, 2023

With the continuous development of science and technology, various materials are widely used in people's daily lives. On many occasions, we can see the figure of glass and crystal. Although the two are similar in appearance, they are actually very different in terms of composition, manufacturing process, and performance. Do you know the difference between glass and crystal?




1. Compositional differences

Glass is an amorphous inorganic non-metallic material, the main component is silicate, such as silicon oxide (SiO2), and some other components are doped to improve performance, such as alkali metal oxides and alkaline earth metal oxides. Crystals are mainly divided into natural crystals and man-made crystals. Natural crystals are mineral crystals, the main component of which is silicon dioxide (SiO2), which has a naturally formed lattice structure. Artificial crystal mainly refers to lead crystal, which is a synthetic glass material containing a certain proportion of lead oxide (PbO), and its lattice structure is similar to natural crystal.

2. Manufacturing process

The manufacturing process of glass usually includes the steps of melting, shaping and cooling. The raw material is melted into a viscous substance in a high-temperature furnace, then shaped by air blowing, floatation, etc., and finally cooled for a certain period of time to form a hard and transparent glass product. The production of crystals relies on the crystal growth process. Natural crystals are formed through long-term mineral deposition and crystal growth in the high-temperature and high-pressure environment deep in the earth's crust. Artificial crystals are grown artificially in laboratories or factories by controlling temperature, pressure and other conditions.

3. Performance difference

1. Refractive index: The refractive index of crystal is usually higher than that of glass, especially the crystal with higher lead content. The high refractive index makes the crystal have a stronger ability to refract light, showing a unique luster and sparkle effect.

2. Hardness: The hardness of natural crystal is generally higher than that of glass, while the hardness of lead crystal may be slightly lower than that of ordinary glass.

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