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Glass Triple Klein Bottle by Alan Bennett, 1995.

What!? December already? We were just warming up!

SkillBuilder-GlassWith November behind us, we’re wrapping up our 2012 Year of Materials theme, this month, with a focus on glass. Glass, in the broadest sense of the term, does not imply any particular type of atomic or molecular composition, but rather a particular kind of ordering of atoms or molecules in space. Or rather, a lack thereof. In understanding this it is helpful to contrast glasses with crystals, in which atoms/molecules are arranged in repeating rows, columns, or other identifiable patterns, like cannonballs stacked on a courthouse lawn. Glasses, on the other hand, are more like dice poured haphazardly into a jar. Materials characterized by a lack of spatial order at the atomic scale are often described as glassy, though amorphous is now often favored, for this purpose, to avoid confusion with the common sense of the word.

But even in that more common sense—hard, brittle, silicon-based materials that are often transparent—glass includes a veritable galaxy of materials, full of amazing properties and stories. This month, we’re going to bring you just a few of them.

As always, if you have suggestions for particular content you’d like to see covered under this theme, please do let us know, below. Thanks for reading!

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Sean Michael Ragan

Sean Michael Ragan

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and makezine.com. My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c’t – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.


7 Responses to December is Glass Month

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  1. I love this comment..
    But wouldnt that make a great Bong/bubbler..
    this could keep a Toker amazed for hours..

  2. I would absolutely renew my subscription today if there were an article on how anyone makes things like that triple klein bottle. (Granted, I plan to renew anyway, but still)

  3. im a maker / arduino / raspi junkie, and also an off-hand glassblower. at first, you would think these things have nearly nothing in common. however, most glassblowers who do not operate a professional large scale glass studio (or rent from someone who does) are often left to build their own studio equipment. the amazing maker styled technology going into these pieces of equipment should make for a great article. beyond the PID controllers (i bought an osPID just to use it for a furnace) there are “electronic eyes” that can sense flames to keep gas safely on/off, as well as flow and power metering. i would love to see an article about what we call the studio “tech”. its usually the guy or gal people around here would call the “maker”.
    or you would of course do something on corning. amazing history. awesome products that we all use now. (fiber optic, cookware, gorilla, etc)

  4. This video is really incredible. It shows a bunch of very unconventional glass blowing techniques. Very artistic.

  5. Ummm the paper month link is broken. It should look like this: http://blog.makezine.com/tag/papermat/

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