2002-10-10 – The hidden dangers of glass

I have just spent half a day searching for something on-line. I knew it was there, having read it a while back, and so I was searching for “glass nickel ion failure” and other similar terms, and getting nowhere. If I had searched for “glass nickel sulphide failure” however, I would have found the answer very quickly.
An (expert) human would have known what I was driving at long, long before the computer search system, and, despite a wide and extensive search, I had to try a different system (The online archive of New Scientist, which is available to all subscribers. It came up top.)
Before a computer can match a human as a librarian, it will have to be developed into a more interactive system. A suggestion back would have found me the answer in just a few searches, but this is beyond Google, good though it is.
If you are ever planning to use glass, especially toughened glass, in a structural or other application, you need to know about Nickel Sulphide inclusions. These are bad little so-and-so’s which can lead to disaster when a pane of glass literally explodes, suddenly and without warning, sometimes causes lumps of glass to land on your customers’ heads!
A better method of solving this critical problem needs to be found. Heat soaking, which artificially ages the glass, is not fool-proof, and a laser system has been developed for glass in situ, but a video vision system that checked the glass as it comes of the float bed would be of great value to the large glass manufacturers.

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