Plastic can exist for a thousand years, can glass be longer than it?

Plastic pollutants are the main pollutants produced by human activities. Plastics can become the main pollutants because they are difficult to degrade. If you want the plastic to degrade naturally in nature, it usually takes 200 to 1,000 years. Even ordinary plastic bags have a natural degradation time of 200 to 400 years.

Although plastic is difficult to degrade, another material used by humans is tougher than plastic and has a much longer existence in nature. It is glass. Is there any basis that glass can survive longer than plastic? Of course, there is. Because humans have a long history of manufacturing glass, as early as 1000 BC, that is, more than 3000 years ago, the ancient Egyptians had mastered the glass blowing technology.

By blowing glass, the ancient Egyptians could make all kinds of exquisite glass products. And more than 1,000 years before the advent of glass blowing, there were glass products. In other words, 4,000 years ago, humans could

Until today, archaeologists have discovered a large number of glass products from different periods, and these glass products are well preserved. This shows that there has been no effect on glass for thousands of years. Glass can be stored for thousands of years, so what if it is longer? In fact, the existence of glass in nature is much longer than you think. To know how long glass can exist, we must first understand what glass is. The main components of glass are silicon dioxide and other oxides. It is an amorphous solid with an irregular structure.

The so-called irregular structure means that the arrangement of atoms inside the glass looks messy and irregular.

mesh laminated glass


Under normal circumstances, the molecular arrangement of liquids and gases is chaotic, while the arrangement of atoms in solid substances, especially metal substances such as iron, is extremely orderly. Glass is solid, but the arrangement of atoms is as chaotic as a liquid. what is the problem? In fact, the atomic arrangement of glass means that chaos contains order.

On the whole, the atomic arrangement of glass is indeed irregular, but if you observe it one by one, you will find that every silicon atom is connected to four oxygen atoms. This chaotic arrangement of atoms is orderly. A special term is called “short-range order.” This is why glass is very hard but very fragile.

The special arrangement of atoms gives the glass high hardness. On the other hand, due to the extremely stable chemical properties of glass, it hardly reacts with any substance, which makes it almost impossible for glass to be corroded in nature.

, So the only way to destroy the glass is to conduct a physical attack. In nature, the erosion of wind and rain, the abrasion of sand and rock, and the movement of geology can cause the glass to break. After all, glass is very fragile. In our daily lives, we often see such a phenomenon that the transparency of newly installed glass will decrease after several years of use. This is due to the physical wear of the glass surface caused by the erosion of rain and the friction of wind and sand.