Quartz glass is an extremely versatile material used in a range of different applications. It has outstanding thermal properties, excellent optical transmission, with good electrical and corrosion performance.
Production of Fused Silica or Quartz Glass
There are two basic ways of making quartz / silica glass:
- By melting silica grains either by gas or electrical heating (the type of heating affects some optical properties). This material can be transparent or, for some applications, opaque.
- By synthesising the glass from chemicals
The Difference between Fused Silica and Quartz Glass
This synthetic material, normally referred to as synthetic fused silica, has better optical properties and is somewhat more expensive than the other type.
In the UK, terms such as quartz, silica, fused quartz and fused silica tend to be used interchangeably. In the USA, quartz refers to material melted from grains, silica refers to the synthetic material.
Advantages of Fused Silica/Quartz Glass
The advantages of fused silica or quartz glass include:
- Incredibly thermally shock resistant (can be taken from red heat and plunged into water without cracking)
- Low coefficient of thermal expansion
- Optical transmission properties from ultra violet to infra red
- Good chemical resistance
- Excellent electrical insulator
Applications of Fused Silica/Quartz Glass
Applications Applications of fused silica/quartz glass include:
- Mirror substrates
- Crucibles, trays and boats
- UV transmitting optics (synthetic fused silica)
- IR transmitting optics
- Metrology components
Properties of Fused Silica/Quartz Glass
Table 1. Typical properties of fused silica/quartz glass.
Figure 1. Transmission curve for 10mm thick fused silica/quartz glass (including surface reflection losses).
Properties of fused silica/quartz glass shown are typical values, they are not absolute material properties, and should be used for guidance only. It is recommended that materials and components are tested for their suitability for a specific application.
Source: Goodfellow Ceramic & Glass Division