Applied Films works with glass, developing coatings that change or improve its properties. Do you realize how much glass there is in your life? Most people don't even think about it. They live in their homes, surrounded by different types and shapes of glass, without even realizing it. To help you get a better idea of what a big difference glass makes in the life of the average person, here's a brief overview of the types of glass you've probably got in your house right now.
Glass in its most basic form can be found in your windows at home. Made from sand that has been heated to its melting point and poured into sheet form to harden, glass windows allow you to get light and views from outside without letting the cold air and bugs into your home. While most houses use standard glass in windows, some newer pieces might have glass coatings that reduce UV rays, block some of the sunshine in the hotter months, or reduce the amount of heat that is lost to the outside in wintertime.
That car parked in your garage right now might look like it has a living room window for a windshield, but the glass in your car and the glass built into your home are very different. Car windows are made out of a type of glass known as tempered glass. Tempered glass is treated with chemicals and extra thermal energy when it's being formed to make it stronger and safer than normal glass. If you break your house window, it can shatter into big sharp shards, but if you break a car windshield you will not only have to hit it harder but it will also shatter into tiny dull balls. Some household glass is also made "tempered" for safety, such as that used in showers and railings.
Image of a glass shower courtesy of Shower Door of Canada
Some people, when they're outfitting a new home, choose glass bakeware, pots, and measuring cups over traditional metal or plastic. This is because glass has natural non-stick properties and doesn't require a coating. However, the glass in your cooking implements is different from the glass in your windows. It's tempered like your car windows so as to be extra tough and safer to handle in your kitchen, but it's probably made of borosilicate glass, a special composition of glass patented by the Pyrex brand.
Here's where your home glass really overlaps with the work of Applied Films. The TV that you watch when you're sitting in a waiting room, the screen on your Blackberry, your laptop screen, these are all made of glass, but they have special coatings added to them after the fact to make them conduct electricity, work with crystals, LEDs, or plasma, and be tougher than normal glass.