Saint-Gobain Officials Say Manufacturing Research in Its Early Stages
April 24, 2012

by Sahely Mukerji,

Jean-Marc Flesselles, department director and project manager of the Glass Melting Department at Saint-Gobain in France, says that the research in glass manufacturing with X-ray microtomography is only in its infant stages.

"The work … represents a significant scientific discovery," Flesselles says. "In particular, it teaches us that reactions do take place in the solid phase at a much lower temperature than was previously assumed. That means we have to reconsider the way we understand the melting processes at play in industrial furnaces."

The group of scientists who conducted the research in France claimed they might have discovered a way to produce high-quality glass at lower temperatures. The group included scientists from Saint-Gobain.

"However, there are differences between the simple model glass used in this experiment and real commercial glasses, that most probably translate into differences into their melting behavior," Flesselles says. "A direct transposition is obviously not possible and it also does not address the technical issues related to an industrial production process."

Better fundamental understanding will help produce high-quality glass at a lower temperature, which in turn would have an influence in terms of gas emissions from glass furnaces, Flesselles says. "But this is not in any foreseeable term: we just are at the beginning of a long-term research study with many stages before success," he concludes.

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