Fire resistant glassThe possible applications for the transparent vitreous material obtained by smelting sand are manifold, and the products of technical glass manufacturers, in particular, continue to find new uses in all manner of fields that are essential to our modern lifestyles. No longer just a compound of silicon suited to the fabrication of windows, wine bottles, drinking vessels, and decorative ornaments, it has proved to be invaluable in applications as diverse as optics, fire safety, radiation protection, laboratory glassware and specialised lighting, to name just a few.

In the field of optics alone, the precision-ground lenses and mirrors used in orbiting and land-based telescopes have served to expand our knowledge and understanding of the universe to a degree that would otherwise have been impossible. For this, mankind owes a debt not only to NASA and the astronomers involved, but also to the manufacturers of technical glass of such exceptional quality, without which this achievement would not have been possible.

While we may seldom pause to appreciate the fact, a number of us now enjoy the protection afforded by its fire-resistant properties made possible with the use of advanced manufacturing technologies. We can sit in the comfort of a lounge and enjoy the unobstructed warmth produced by a wood burner or coal fire, with the assurance that our persons and our property are protected from the danger of flying sparks and embers by a variety of glass that is the technical equivalent of asbestos created by leading manufacturers such as SCHOTT. In the work environment, windows and doors with wall panels with similar fire-resistant abilities provide employees and visitors with safe passage in the event of fire,

More insidious than fire because it is undetectable by human senses, is radiation. Whether working in a nuclear plant or a medical isotope lab, or attending to patients in radiology or radiotherapy departments, workers are only free to operate in safety thanks to the protection provided by another technical achievement on the part of manufacturers – radiation-proof glass. The inclusion of sufficient heavy metal, most often lead, in the mix acts to slow and dissipate the energetic particles associated with various forms of ionising radiation, providing protection while still transmitting visible light.

The name of SCHOTT is recognised worldwide as one of the leading manufacturers of these and other forms of technical glass just as, in South Africa, LIT Africa is recognised as the leading supplier of SCHOTT products, with an extensive knowledge of their many possible applications.