Glass is a versatile, popular material for a wide range of applications. Cutting the glass is key to obtaining high-quality products. In the conventional process used to cut flat glass, a small cutter wheel scores a line into the glass. Pressure is then applied to the glass along this line so that it breaks. Unfortunately, glass splinters may come off in the process, producing defects known as micro-cracks. The glass consequently needs to be reworked by grinding and polishing, which costs time and money. Nonetheless, damages may remain in the glass that reduce its strength.
A great deal of time and money, limited design options – reason enough to develop a better, more effective process for separating glass. In a project funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), Dr. Rainer Kübler has been working with his five-strong team on a laser-induced stress separation process for flat glass that causes minimal damage. Dr. Rainer Kübler has been awarded the Joseph-von-Fraunhofer Prize 2008 for his work.
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