Borosilicate glass is one of the most preferred glassware in laboratories as compared to soda-lime glass. This is because there is a huge difference between borosilicate and soda-lime glass when it comes to their properties.
Let’s understand soda-lime glass vs borosilicate glass characteristics in detail.
- Borosilicate glassware is made from silica and boron dioxide, which are known for chemical and thermal resistance properties. On the contrary, soda-lime glass is made from silica, sodium dioxide, and calcium oxide, which make it durable only at normal temperatures. The proportion of silica in Borosilicate is much higher (80%) than soda-lime glass (69%) due to which it is less prone to breakages. The mixture of the chemicals in Borosilicate binds it tightly as a result of which it can withstand a much higher melting point.
- Borosilicate glass is a higher-grade glass in comparison to soda-lime glass. It is an engineered glass specifically developed to withstand extreme thermal, chemical and mechanical conditions. It can be easily shifted from harsh cold temperatures to heat temperatures and vice versa without any breakages. For example, it can be moved from freezer to oven and vice versa.
- Borosilicate has lower Coefficient of Linear Thermal Expansion (CTE), which means that it is more resistant to thermal shocks and can be modeled into complex shapes such as vacuum insulated flasks or vessels. Borosilicate can withstand the maximum thermal shock range of borosilicate is 170 degree Celsius, which equals 340 degrees Fahrenheit. Soda-lime has a higher CTE and hence, can’t handle extreme heat changes. In fact, CTE of soda-lime glass is more than twice that of borosilicate.
- Borosilicate is harder, stronger and more durable than soda-lime glass due to the low atomic mass of boron. If you look at the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, borosilicate stands second at 7.5 after diamond at 10. If borosilicate glass falls on the floor, there are high chances that it won’t suffer any damages. What’s more, it is also scratch-resistant and looks good as new for years.
- Borosilicate glass also has a higher resistance to acids and hence, ideal for holding acidic and alkaline solutions. It keeps the chemicals uncontaminated and pure. It does not release harmful substances into the liquid it is holding. However, soda-lime glass in most probability will render non-toxic trace minerals to the beverage, which is acidic in nature.
Borosilicate Glass Uses Vs Soda Lime Glass Use
- Soda-lime glass is widely used in window panes and bottles/jars to store food and beverages. It is a more common glass for household purposes or laboratory equipment such as Petri dishes and volumetric glassware which are used directly to heat. 90% of manufactured glass is of soda-lime variety.
- Borosilicate is used as laboratory glassware, beverage glassware, high-intensity discharge lamps, guitar slides, aquarium heaters, telescopes, flashlights, and thermal insulation tiles. It is also used in science laboratories, restaurants, and wineries. Borosilicate glass cookware such as microwave vessels and bakeware is also popular because of their resistance to heat.
There is no doubt that the properties of borosilicate glassware make it superior to soda-lime glass.