Difference Between Glass and Ceramics (With Table)

The most common materials found in the kitchen, especially when it comes to storage containers and jars are glass and ceramics. Almost every kitchen has at least a few of these jars and containers. This is rightfully so because glass and ceramics are among the safest options for food storage. They have been a trusted part of the kitchen for time immemorial.

It often however happens so that these two items of utmost importance in the kitchen are confusing. They are used interchangeably without any hesitation and there is some genuine amount of confusion regarding the two terms glass and ceramics, perhaps because they are both used mostly used in the kitchen, for the same purpose and have somewhat similar properties, as far as it can be observed from the normal exterior.

Glass vs Ceramics

The difference between glass and ceramics is that glass is non-crystalline while ceramic is crystalline. This could be because silicon dioxide is the main component of glass while clay is the main component of ceramics.

Comparison Table Between Glass and Ceramics

Parameter of ComparisonGlassCeramics
NatureGlass is non-crystalline and amorphous in nature.Ceramics can be crystalline or semi-crystalline in nature but never non-crystalline. They are inorganic materials.
CompositionThe main component of glass is silicon dioxide.The main component of ceramics is clay.
TransparencyGlass, evidently is almost always transparent, unless tampered with to make it look otherwise. It can be made to look translucent or opaque too, but naturally, glass is transparent.Ceramics are opaque in nature. Light cannot pass through them.
PriceGlass is cheaper than ceramics on comparison.Ceramics are costlier than glass.
Reaction on HeatingOn heating to high temperatures, glass exhibits behaviour like rubber.Ceramics do not behave like rubber or show any such kind of properties on being heated to very high temperatures. Instead, they harden when exposed to high temperature.

What is Glass?

Glass is defined as a non-crystalline amorphous solid. It does not have a long-range periodic atomic structure. Glass is mostly used in the kitchen for the purpose of storing food. It is very safe for that purpose as is it one of the most non-reactive substances.

Glass naturally occurs when very high temperatures like lava or lightning react with sand. But glass is also manufactured in kilns. The main component for manufacturing glass is silicon dioxide. When the process of manufacturing is completed, the result is a beautiful transparent shining jar or container.

Glass is normally transparent in nature, meaning that it allows light to pass through itself. Glass can also be made translucent or opaque, but in its natural and simplest form, it is transparent. This is also a quality which adds to its beauty and attractions.

When heated to high temperatures, glass behaves like rubber. It flows to some extent. Glass also has a tendency to flow albeit very slowly and over time. This can be very evident in very old glass windows. Glass is easily available and thus not very expensive.

What are Ceramics?

The term “ceramics” refers to storage containers, utensils available in the kitchen and also sometimes to a certain type of show pieces. It is very easy to notice. It can be defined as a crystalline, inorganic substance.

Its main use is in the kitchen because it is a very safe and ancient method of storing food. Ceramics are of many kinds, the earliest of which were in the field of pottery. Ceramics are manufactured in the kiln and their main component is clay.

Ceramics are opaque in nature since their main component is clay. Light cannot pass through them and they cast a shadow. Ceramics have an antique and vintage type of look which makes them a great choice for some aesthetics.

Ceramics harden when heated to high temperatures. They are costly and need to be handled with care.

Main Differences Between Glass and Ceramics

  1. Glass is an amorphous and non-crystalline solid, while ceramics on the other hand are inorganic and can be crystalline or semi-crystalline but never non-crystalline.
  2. The main component of glass, most required while manufacturing is silicon dioxide while the main component of ceramics required mostly for its manufacture is clay.
  3. Glass is transparent in nature, it allows light to pass through it while ceramics are opaque. Glass can be altered to make it translucent or even opaque but in its natural and unaltered form glass is transparent. Ceramics are always opaque and can never be transparent.
  4. Glass is cheaper as compared to ceramics. It is very easily available and thus not so pricey. Ceramics are costlier as compared to glass and are rarer to find these days.
  5. When heated to high temperatures, glass behaves like rubber, meaning it flows and melts as a thick liquid in some ways. Ceramics however when heated to high temperatures, tend to harden, very unlike glass.

Conclusion

Glass and ceramics are both common kitchen household materials. They are used to make jars, containers and utensils to store food. This is so because they are both very safe and do not react with food at all and thus ensure there are no chemicals in the food stored in them.

Both these terms are however used interchangeably often because they are confused with each other. In a sense, it can be said to be true, because glass is said to be a kind of ceramic. Yet both these terms are very different and refer to different materials.

It is easy to distinguish between both of these things as their appearance is quite different as is their nature in many ways. Most common ones of these distinctions are that glass is transparent while ceramics are opaque. A deeper analysis of their properties will make it very easy to differentiate between the two and use them correctly.

References

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0109564103001489
  2. https://www.osti.gov/biblio/5773942
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