Mirrors are an important part of everyone’s life. But have you ever thought about how they are made? Mirrors are manufactured by putting a coating of reflective surface on the glass sheet. The process of mirror manufacturing is very straightforward.
Glass is a transparent, hard and rigid object which is ideal for making mirrors. Generally, these mirrors are coated with silver and aluminum. The sheet of glass that is used to make the mirror should be long-lasting and flat. Whenever you are searching for mirrors for domestic use look for thick mirrors. Check out a few at www.everbettermirror.com.
In case you are looking for mirrors for scientific purposes its surface should be designed in a manner such that it could maintain uniformity along with the addition of curvature. This allows the mirror to reflect and focus the light as well as the image. Here are some more interesting facts about mirror manufacturing that you would be shocked to know:
1. Interesting History of Mirror Manufacturing
They are manufactured by applying a reflective coating on the surface of the glass. Its manufacturing is believed to have been started in the first century AD. However at that time, the cost of metal was quite high and it took a lot of time, effort and skill to make these. Therefore the mirror was considered a luxury item during ancient times because it was not affordable for everybody.
Only rich people could afford to buy them in the ancient period. It is also interesting to know that the very first artificial ones were manufactured using black volcanic glass which is also called obsidian.
In China, a mixture of copper and tin which is called speculum metal was used to make mirrors. Romans are known to have made the oldest ones in the world from materials like obsidian. Obsidian is a volcanic glass that is considered very good as a reflecting surface. Obsidian stone mirrors have also been used as late as 6000 BC in Anatolia, turkey. Samples have also been found from Iraq (Mesopotamia) that used metal mirrors that were built from copper around 4000 BC.
2. The Process Of Making A Mirror
Have you ever thought about how a mirror that you use every day is made? Our life is truly unimaginable without them. In modern times, they are manufactured by a process of wet deposition of aluminum or silver. During this process, a glass substrate is polished and cleaned to remove any impurities and contaminants present. After that, the glass sheet is covered with tin chloride.
The aluminum powder then evaporates on the surface to form a liquid in the vacuum chamber. The next step involves the addition of a chemical activator to harden the metal. Then a copper layer is added to enhance the durability. Finally, the metal is painted, this avoids the Glass from damaging during acid washing.
3. Mercury Was Used To Make Them
Did you know that before 1940 manufacturers used mercury to make mirrors? It was used because it is very easy to spread and it didn’t scratch. However, the practice of using mercury for manufacturing these items stopped because manufacturers couldn’t seal it properly which was a grave problem. After all, mercury is a toxic liquid. As of now, aluminum is used in the mirror manufacturing process because aluminum has the highest level of reflection.
There are several ways to make glass sheets with any reflective material. Generally, the glass sheet is coated with those metals that are heated in extraordinary chambers. Once boiled, the condensed metal is put on the glass sheet to form a very thin layer. A thin layer is considered ideal for coating the glass.
Even the slightest disturbance during the process could crack the mirror. The ones that are made for scientific purposes are coated with the components such as silicon oxide and silicon nitride. During the process of making scientific ones, approximately a hundred layers are applied. Such coating is called the dielectric coating which is generally used in reflectors. Gold and silver are also used for coatings to reflect the light of specific color.
5. You Can Make Them At Home
To make them at home, you have to first find a glass sheet. You can extract glass from picture frames. Clean the glass properly with the help of some alcohol. Now you can use spray paints. After cleaning the glass properly apply at least five coats of spray paint. After every coat let the paint dry. Once the paint is completely dry you can place the glass back into the picture frame and there you go your homemade mirror is ready to use.
6. Raw Materials Used In Manufacturing
We all know that glass is one of the main components in mirror manufacturing. However, it is a bad reflector of light. Love can only reflect four percent of the life that hits on it. Bath glass gives uniformity when it is polished properly.
Glass is considered a suitable material to make mirrors because it can be easily molded into various shapes. Silica is generally used to make glass. It is interesting to know that glass is manufactured from natural crystals of silica that are called fused quartz.
The advantage of using natural crystals of silica is that they can be melted at high temperatures and can also be poured to form a thin sheet of glass with the help of a chemical reaction.
Other items that are used in manufacturing are chrome, aluminium, and bronze. Metals such as gold, bronze, chrome and silver are considered appropriate for coating the glass sheet perfectly. The silver mirror was used even a century back which gave birth to the term silvering which is considered the best technique for making a mirror.
Here are some of the interesting facts about mirror manufacturing. The manufacturing industries have seen a lot of change throughout their history. As the glassmaking technique enhances, mirrors will find more elaborate places in architecture as well as art.