Recently, members of the South Williamsport Area ACS High School Chemistry Club, along with current & former chemistry students, traveled to theCorning Museum of Glass in Corning, NY. The trip was part of a field trip sponsored by the First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania and the school district’s Parent Teacher Organization. As a pre-requisite to attending the field trip, students were required to investigate and report on topics/techniques related to glass working and glass chemistry. This included the production of Pyrex and Gorilla Glass, the coloring of glass using various metal ions and artistic techniques used to create “ice glass”.
At the Corning Museum of Glass, students participated in a tour that focused on the chemistry and innovations behind different types of glass and learned about the types of internal stress (compression & tension) that allows glass to demonstrate both strength and fragility. Students also learned about some of the accidental discoveries that have become household staples, such as the formation of the glass-ceramic material used in CorningWare bakeware.
Students also had the opportunity to experience glass working by doing it themselves. Under the guidance of experienced glass workers, students used glassblowing techniques to create a glass ornament in either a ball or tear-drop shape. Using the technique of glass fusing, students created a suncatcher, which is an art piece of glass that reflects sunlight in interesting patterns.
The combination of creativity, artistry, science and technology in glassmaking appealed to a large number of our students, who have various interests and backgrounds. Students saw how glass and its innovations impact our everyday lives and how the understanding and application of materials science can be put to use for the benefit and enjoyment of all. The ChemClub has visited Corning Museum of Glass on numerous occasions in years past as our spring trip. Students that have attended previously often want to go again and again.