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This document briefly describes the manufacture of flat glass and pressed and blown glass. Flat glass includes plate and architectural glass, automotive windscreens, and mirrors.
A glass melt is prepared from silica sand, other raw materials such as lime, dolomite, and soda. For the manufacture of special and technical glass, lead oxide, potash, zinc oxide, and other metal oxides are added. Refining agents include arsenic trioxide, antimony oxide, nitrates, and sulfates. Metal oxides and sulfides are used as coloring or decoloring agents.
The most common furnace used for manufacturing glass melt is the continuous regenerative type, with either the side or the end ports connecting brick checkers to the inside of the melter. The molten glass is refined (heat conditioning) and is then pressed, blown, drawn, rolled, or floated, depending on the final product.
The most important fuels for glass-melting furnaces are natural gas, light and heavy fuel oil, and liquefied petroleum gas. Electricity (frequently installed as supplementary heating) is also used. Energy requirements range from 3.7 to 6.0 kilojoules per metric ton (kJ/t) glass produced.