Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Large Bubbles
Some times you want large bubbles, but when you don't, you need to know about the causes of, and ways to prevent, bubbles.

Causes and prevention of most large bubbles relate to volume control, layup, rate of advance and top temperature.

Volume control. We all know that glass tends toward being 6-7mm thick at full fuse temperatures. Any less volume and the glass thickens at the edges, so trapping air under the glass which will push up and through given enough time and temperature.

Layup. The lack of volume control is compounded by layups which do not allow the air to escape from under the edges of the piece.

Rate of advance. These two problems are compounded by asap, or even just rapid, increases in temperature. The glass softens quickly and the air finds it easier to push the glass up than to escape from under the edges. Slowing down is part of the answer.

Top temperature. A high top temperature softens the glass to the extent that any lack in volume control, layups that have hollows or traps for air, and rapid increases in temperature all allow the expanding air (and there will always be some) underneath the glass to push up and often through the glass.

These factors reinforce the Low and Slow mantra.

Other factors can promote bubbles, although the ones above are the most common. Debris between the glass and the shelf, or between glass layers can cause bubbles, given the right conditions. Small shallow indentations in the shelf can be the source of bubbles from underneath the glass. This can be identified by observing where the bubbles occur in relation to the shelf.

There are some things that can be done to reduce the likelihood of bubbles: