Chemistry Question #373

Thomas Seltsam, a 23 year old male from Austria asks on April 26, 1998,

Is glass an amorphous mass? Old glass, for example the glass found in old churches, is much thicker at the bottom than at the top. Is this a fault of the manufacturing process of the time, or is it because glass is amorphous, and not crystalline?

viewed 13630 times

The answer

Barry Shell answered on April 26, 1998

Glass is a kind of amorphous crystalline mass. It used to be called a supercooled liquid, so people thought that it flowed very slowly. Now it seems to be considered to be an amorphous solid and does not flow. The thicker glass at the bottom of old windows is thought to be an artifact of manufacture. There is an exhaustive discussion of the glass flow idea by Florin Neumann of Toronto.

Add to or comment on this answer using the form below.

Note: All submissions are moderated prior to posting.

If you found this answer useful, please consider making a small donation to