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Glass bending, also known as glass bending or slumping, is a fascinating technique that allows glass to be shaped into curved or contoured forms, adding versatility and creativity to architectural and artistic applications. From curved glass facades to sculptural installations, understanding the process of glass bending reveals the intricacies behind this transformative art form:

Selection of glass:

The process of glass bending begins with the selection of the appropriate type of glass. While annealed glass is commonly used for simple bends and curves, tempered or heat-strengthened glass is preferred for more complex shapes or structural applications due to its increased strength and resistance to thermal stress.

Heating:

Once the glass is selected, it undergoes a carefully controlled heating process in a glass kiln or bending oven. The temperature and duration of heating vary depending on factors such as the thickness and type of glass, as well as the desired degree of curvature. As the glass is heated, it becomes soft and pliable, allowing it to be shaped or bent into the desired form.

Shaping and forming:

During the heating process, the softened glass is manipulated into the desired shape using molds or forms. These molds can be made from a variety of materials, including ceramic, metal, or refractory materials. The glass is carefully placed over the mold and allowed to sag or slump under its own weight, conforming to the contours of the mold as it cools.

Cooling and annealing:

After shaping, the glass is slowly cooled to room temperature in a process known as annealing. This gradual cooling process helps relieve internal stresses within the glass, reducing the risk of cracking or shattering. Depending on the size and thickness of the glass, the annealing process may take several hours or even days to complete.

Finishing and polishing:

Once the glass has been bent and annealed, it undergoes finishing processes to ensure smooth edges and a flawless surface. This may involve grinding, polishing, or sandblasting to remove any imperfections and enhance the clarity and brilliance of the glass. Additionally, any necessary drilling or cutting may be performed at this stage to prepare the glass for installation or further fabrication.

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