Society has prized glass artefacts for millennia, from decorated Egyptian amphora to the extravagantly engraved vases of the Romans, from stained glass windows to the chandeliers of the Middle Ages. Bottles and tableware help us to cook and preserve our food, to store our wine, and to deliver our medications cheaply in tip-top condition, while windows and lamps give us well lit, warm buildings and safe transport systems. Quality glass lenses for microscopes, telescopes and cameras helped to revolutionize our understanding of biology and astronomy, and now deliver pictures from international news events or instant personal images on Facebook. Our mobile telephones and internet traffic travel along glass fibers which can amplify or switch the signal. Glass fibers insulate our houses and engineered glass sheets with printed solar cells generate our power. Even our wind turbines use glass fiber reinforced blades. Glass containing cements can repair our teeth and bones, doped glasses can target radiotherapy within our bodies, and spare body parts can be grown on glassy scaffolds.
Such a rich heritage does not automatically lead to an exciting future, but we can expect many surprises. Glass will certainly remain the bedrock of a modern, sustainable, low-carbon society. The International Commission on Glass (ICG) is promoting research and development (R&D) on glass and ensures that the necessary support framework in the form of Technical Committees (TCs) is in place. With that mission, the Coordinating Technical Committee (CTC) of the ICG initiated a roadmap exercise focused on the future of glass R&D, starting with a kick-off meeting at the ICG2007 Congress in Strasbourg; this promoted the construction of roadmaps able to anticipate the challenges that the glass community will face. The key players in that roadmap process have been the various TCs, with their numerous experts, organized by the ICG. Aspects of glass melting, advanced materials with a focus on biomaterials, glass surface properties and functional coatings, as well as key fundamental glass principles were studied in particular depth. The methodology adopted was focused workshops with a 25 year perspective. The results obtained by the glass experts in the first four topical workshops were summarized in 2010 in the 1st edition of this book, which contained many graphical representations of roadmaps for the different R&D fields of glass.
The 1st edition formed a solid basis for an exchange of opinions concerning the future directions of glass research and an appropriate prioritization of research topics. But the roadmap process did not stop in 2010 and several additional workshops were planned and organized. The main new contributions in this 2nd edition are the results of the last ICG roadmap workshops, some of which were carried out in cooperation with other scientific organizations. The same style and format used in the previous booklet have been maintained for the seven new sections which are:
- Applications of sensors and advanced process control
- Energy efficiency in melting process
- Innovation in glass production
- Structure and vibrations in oxide glasses
- Glass surfaces and thin films on glass
- Glasses for pharmacy
- Summary of the results of the roadmap activities
All these sections are highly specific and contain much rich detail; the experts contributing are named at the end of the booklet. In addition some members of the CTC (as coordinators of a TC cluster) analyzed the pre-existing material from the 1st edition in cooperation with other experts and produced reviews which are also published in this book.
During the ICG Summer School dinner on July 10, 2014 Prof Peng Shou, as ICG president, announced the publication and distributed copies from the first print run to the teachers present – explaining that the students would have to win their copies in the project competition organized at the end of the week!
Continuous revision will be required in the future as our knowledge base expands and as new challenges arise. We hope that the reader will be excited by the comprehensive vision of the future of glass and the manifold potential applications outlined within the booklet. The ICG intends the book to create a solid basis for forward-looking roadmap discussions on the future of glass R&D closecooperation with other scientific organizations. We all hope that you, the readers, will want to contribute your ideas on the improvement of the roadmaps and their fulfilment. Our goal is that this 2nd edition of Making Glass Better will help to focus the limited resources of the glass community on the “right” topics for a proud future for glass.
MAKING GLASS BETTER: ICG roadmaps of Glass R&D with a 25 year horizon, 2nd edition
KLAUS BANGE, ALICIA DURÁN and JOHN M. PARKER (Editors)
Proyectos y Producciones Editoriales Cyan, S.A, Madrid, Spain (July 2014)
Price: 20 €