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Platinum Metals Rev., 1958, 2, (3), 82

The Mechanism of Glass-Fibre Formation

A Photographic Study of the Process

In the Owens-Corning glass-wool process the fibres are produced by subjecting streams of molten glass flowing at a temperature of about 1500°C from orifices in a platinum bushing to a blast of superheated steam; fiberisation takes place within the steam, and the fibres are collected on a conveyor below.

The exact mechanism of fibre production has not been fully understood, as the movement of the glass is too rapid to be followed by eye or recorded by ordinary photographic techniques. A study of this problem was therefore undertaken in the laboratories of Fibreglass Ltd. and Pilkington Brothers Ltd., St. Helens, by A. de Dani and P. E. Jellyman (J. Soc. Glass Tech., 1957, 41, 276–282) using flash photography with a flash duration of 2μ s, and ciné photography at a frame speed of 3000 per second. The paper is well illustrated with the photographs and frame sequences obtained, and it is concluded that the mechanism is neither the formation and attenuation of drops of glass, nor the division of the stream of glass by branching, but is a looping and folding of the glass stream induced by turbulent flow of the steam blast.

This photograph of the Owens-Corning glass wool process in operation, taken at an exposure of 1/25 second, gives an impression of the visual appearance of the process. The bottom of the platinum bushing, and the glass above and below the blower chamber, are seen to be incandescent.

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