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High-throughput injection molding of transparent fused silica glass

Markus Mader, Oliver Schlatter, Barbara Heck, Andreas Warmbold, Alex Dorn, Hans Zappe, Patrick Risch, Dorothea Helmer, Frederik Kotz, Bastian E. Rapp. Science 372 (2021) 182-186

Glass is one of the most relevant high-performance materials that has the benefit of a favorable environmental footprint compared with that of other commodity materials. Despite the advantageous properties of glasses, polymers are often favored because they can be processed using scalable industrial replication techniques like injection molding (IM). Glasses are generally processed through melting, which is both energy intensive and technologically challenging. We present a process for glassworks using high-throughput IM of an amorphous silicon dioxide nanocomposite that combines established process technologies and low-energy sintering. We produce highly transparent glass using classical IM and sintering, allowing for a potentially substantial reduction in energy consumption. Our strategy merges polymer and glass processing, with substantial implications for glass utilization.

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