Glass fibre has many uses from roof insulation to medical equipment and its composition varies depending on its application.
For building insulation and glass wool the type of glass used is normally soda lime.
For textiles , an alumino-borosilicate glass with very low sodium oxide content is preferred because of its good chemical durability and high softening point. This is also the type of glass fibre used in the reinforced plastics to make protective helmets, boats, piping, car chassis, ropes, car exhausts and many other items.
In recent years, great progress has been made in making optical fibres which can guide light and thus transmit images round corners. These fibres are used in endoscopes for examination of internal human organs, changeable traffic message signs now on motorways for speed restriction warnings and communications technology without which telephones and the internet would not be possible.
Learn about the manufacturing of differnt types of glass fibre and glass wool in our glass manufacturing pages:
In this Section
The oldest examples of glass are Egyptian beads dating from 12,000 BC.