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Some objects historically were so commonly made of silicate glass that they are simply called by the name of the material, such as drinking glasses and eyeglasses.Scientifically, the term "glass" is often defined in a broader sense, encompassing every solid that possesses a non-crystalline (that is, amorphous) structure at the atomic scale and that exhibits a glass transition when heated towards the liquid state. Although transparent in thin sections, the glass is greenish-blue in thick sections from impurities.Bubbles remained trapped in the glass as it cooled from a liquid, through the glass transition, becoming a non-crystalline solid.
When extruded as glass fiber and matted as glass wool in a way to trap air, it becomes a thermal insulating material, and when these glass fibers are embedded into an organic polymer plastic, they are a key structural reinforcement part of the composite material fiberglass.The term glass, in popular usage, is often used to refer only to this type of material, which is familiar from use as window glass and in glass bottles.Of the many silica-based glasses that exist, ordinary glazing and container glass is formed from a specific type called soda-lime glass, composed of approximately 75% silicon dioxide (Si O), calcium oxide (Ca O), also called lime, and several minor additives.The soda makes the glass water-soluble, which is usually undesirable, so lime (Ca O, calcium oxide, generally obtained from limestone), some magnesium oxide (Mg O) and aluminium oxide (Al Most common glass contains other ingredients to change its properties.Lead glass or flint glass is more "brilliant" because the increased refractive index causes noticeably more specular reflection and increased optical dispersion. Thorium oxide gives glass a high refractive index and low dispersion and was formerly used in producing high-quality lenses, but due to its radioactivity has been replaced by lanthanum oxide in modern eyeglasses.
Iron can be incorporated into glass to absorb infrared radiation, for example in heat-absorbing filters for movie projectors, while cerium(IV) oxide can be used for glass that absorbs ultraviolet wavelengths.