Usable Glass Strength Coalition Awards Research Grant to Pennsylvania State University

October 4th, 2013 by Editor

The Usable Glass Strength Coalition (UGSC) has awarded a $110,000 grant to Pennsylvania State University (PSU) in University Park, Pa., to research manufactured glass products’ strength properties.

“We are fortunate to be able to fund ground breaking research that is only possible at institutions such as Penn State that have both the facilities and the technical minds capable of solving the fundamental science behind the factors that control the strength of glass,” says Pete McGinnis, UGSC board chair and glass science and technology leader at Owens Corning.

The research, titled “Controlling and Understanding Reactive Surface Sites on Multicomponent Glasses,” will be led by co-principle investigators Dr. Seong H. Kim, a professor of chemical engineering and associate professor of materials science and engineering, and Dr. Carlo Pantano, a distinguished professor of materials science and engineering. The aim of the study is to characterize the distribution and chemical nature of reactive surface sites on glass that nucleate strength-controlling defects.

“It is reasonable to expect that the existence and concentration of strength-controlling atomic and nano-scale defect precursors depend on the surface cooling rate and the local atmosphere,” reads the research abstract. “These processing variables could provide an effective means to controlling and enhancing the strength of glass through irreversible chemical (or physical) passivation of these defect precursors at the time of their creation.”

Pantano adds, “Glass strength is a grand challenge for both industry and academia. It will take time and multiple approaches, but working together we have a chance to meet the challenge, and at the same time, train the next generation of glass scientists and engineers.”

Under the auspices of the Glass Manufacturing Industry Council (GMIC), the UGSC is a cross-industry coalition that aims to advance, develop and promote fundamental, precompetitive research applicable to increasing the strength of glass across all glass sectors (container, flat, specialty, fiber, etc.); to provide an opportunity for glass researchers to develop expertise in areas suitable for industrial applications; and to develop tools and measurement techniques for the advancement of glass science.

“The fact that the glass manufacturing industry companies have put aside their competitive differences for common benefit and jointly funded fundamental research into glass strength is an encouraging development in our industry,” says Robert Weisenburger Lipetz, secretary of the UGSC and executive director of the GMIC.

Research began October 1 and the initial funding is scheduled to last one year.

The Usable Glass Strength Coalition currently is accepting additional participants. Interested parties should contact McGinnis at 740/321-5753 or by email at, or Lipetz 614/818-9423 or by email at

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