About starfire glass

What is starfire or starphire glass?  And what is the difference between low iron glass and any regular glass?

What is ultra clear glass?

in order to answer all those question we need to start with the basics.

As  you all know glass is solid material made of mostly from silica some soda and some lime. Take a quartz sands – melt it at 1200 degree Celsius and you will get glass. We also know that nothing in nature is pure – so, the quartz sands are also come with some additives – metals mostly. And when melted those metals become a parts of glass molecules,  giving some special characteristics. For example – regular glass has lead and iron in it. That is why it has “green tint”. If you increase the amount of iron in glass, the tint will become more noticeable.  If you add some chromium oxide to it  – glass will become even greener  –  just like old bottle. And sulfur with carbon will color  the  glass to anything from yellow to amber.

 

Low iron on top of regular

Low iron on top of regular

Raw glass

Raw glass

And on the other side – if you remove the additives such as  iron, lead, copper, sulfur and others; the glass will become much clearer, much transparent and much more desirable.  It is so happen that we always wanted to have colorless glass. Tor many reasons. For example the glass on front of artwork – it must be transparent and colorless. Or the lenses on cameras. And on your windows, and on shower doors, and everywhere else where sheet of glass can be applied.

But there are few confusions about low iron glass. The first one  – is the name. PPG calls it –  “starphire”. Others, call it starfire, star-fire, clear starfire, ultra clear, super clear,  low iron clear and anything in between. Every time i get plans form architects i have to call them and ask what they  have on mind.

I think the proper way to do it is to specify low iron glass, because “starphire” is not a type of glass, but rather brand name.  Ultra clear, low iron, starfire, starphire – this all are the names of the same type of glass, manufactured by many glass companies. But  PPG Industries came up with brand name ” Starphire” for their line of low iron glass and the name became an industry standard.

And the second confusion about low iron glass –  is in the names and descriptions of low iron glass itself. See, people read ” ultra clear”, “colorless” they think its really colorless and transparent.  Then they order a sample of the glass and get a 6″ x 6″ cutout and they go;  “WOW! it is really colorless!”. And they order a shower door and expect the shower door to be colorless too! And then we install the shower door and they see that the glass is very much NOT COLORLESS. They see a green or blue tint in the glass.

Low Iron glass sample  and shower door

Low Iron glass sample
and shower door

 

At this point they start freaking out, bombing us with e-mails, making phone calls, screaming  and yelling, calling  us names and demanding the shower door to be replaced immediately with “starfire glass”. “Because this is does not look like the  sample you provided us with!”.

I agree   – it does not!

 

But it does not mean that the glass is not low iron. The problem is the bigger the glass – more different it is

On  the pictures below 2 pieces of low iron glass are shown, cut from the same large sheet of glass. one is a 6″x 6″ sample and the other is 24″x 24″ shelf. Please see for yourself how different they become.

Low Iron glass samples

Low Iron glass samples 

Low Iron glass sample  and a shelf.

Low Iron glass sample
and a shelf.

Please keep this in mind next time you order a shower enclosure with low iron/starphire glass.

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