Wednesday, 8 July 2020

Containing Stress

People frequently report success in combining incompatible glass pieces with a larger, different base.

Questions arise.

Have the resulting pieces been tested for evidence of stress with polarised light filters?

Other destructive methods such as hot water, or placing in the freezer are not adequate measures of the long-term effects of incompatibility stress.  When you are doing something outside the accepted norms, then you must test for stress to be certain what you are producing remains sound before announcing success.

Why does glass with incompatible pieces survive?

Incompatible glass will show some stress when viewed through polarised filters. You will need to decide when it is excessive.  When viewed between polarised light filters high stress will be shown by a rainbow effect in the halo of light.  Lesser stress will be shown by pale light. The degree of stress will be shown by the amount of light.


There are some circumstances where the glass can contain the stress, and others where it cannot.

Generally, large mass pieces can contain the stress from small incompatible pieces of glass. 

Spherical objects can contain a lot of stress over a long period, which is why glass blowers and lamp workers are generally less concerned about incompatibility than kilnformers are.

Flat glass pieces behave a little differently.

Circular forms can contain stress more easily than other shapes.  Rectangular  shapes generally show the most stress at the corners.  Narrow or wedge-shaped pieces have the most difficulty in containing stress.  The stress is concentrated at the points.

The placing of the incompatible glass is also important to the survivability of the glass.  The further from the edge of the piece, the less likely there will be breaks. 

The smaller the pieces of incompatible glass in relation to the whole, the less risk of breaking. 

The more spread apart the pieces are, the greater the chances of survival for a while or long term.

The most essential piece of equipment for people starting out and those who are investigating new setups or working at the edges of accepted norms is a pair of light polarising filters to test for stress.

When combining incompatible glasses the general case is that the greater the mass of the whole object in relation to the incompatible glass, the greater the chance of survival. 

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