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Glass in the form of a window, a mirror, or a container has been known and used for centuries. Defined as “a hard, brittle, transparent material,” it was long regarded as mechanically unreliable. Slowly through the course of the past fifty years a new concept has evolved—a concept of glass as a new class of engineering materials with an amazing range of physical properties. Engineering materials in the plural sense is used advisedly for there are literally thousands of possible glass compositions, of which some five hundred are being regularly melted and worked into thousands of commercial product types. All this has come about through the application of research principles to this hard, transparent, brittle substance. It is our purpose to review one area of recent development in the field of glass as an illustration of modern research application. This area deals with methods and results of nucleation and crystal growth, with the creation of so-called photosensitive glasses and Pyroceram glass-ceramics.
Manager, Corning Glass Works, Corning, N. Y.