Investigating Lead Glass

Fyling Hall’s Year 9s have been investigating lead glass, sometimes called lead crystal. But please, refrain from calling it “crystal.” Technically, we should not be using the term ‘crystal’ as glass has an amorphous structure rather than a crystalline one

The production of lead glass was introduced by George Ravenscroft in 1627 and its ‘brilliant’ lustre soon made it popular for drinking glasses. A method since discontinued due to the toxic nature of lead! Year 9s have replicated the manufacturing process and investigated how different coloured glass may be produced by the addition of small amounts of coloured metals.

The majority of the glass that we are familiar with is commonly known as soda-lime glass due the compounds used in its manufacture. The main component is sand, silicon dioxide (SiO2), combined with sodium carbonate (Soda) and calcium oxide (lime). When heated and subsequently cooled we end up with the ceramic known as glass . . . a great experience investigating lead glass!

Dr Ian Richardson, Head of Chemistry

investigating lead glass