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American Glass Research
Volume 1 / Issue 2
"Dragonfly" by Karen Link

Award Winning Photo Taken at Preston Park

Congratulations to Karen Link, longtime American Glass Research employee (started in 1978), who captured this award winning image at the park created by AGR founder, Dr. Frank Preston. Dragonfly won First Place at the 2014 Saxonburg Festival of the Arts. Karen won Honorable Mention in the 2014 Pennsylvania Magazine photography contest for two additional photos that were also taken at Preston Park. Both were published in the November/December issue. Karen’s impressive work is also on display in the Preston Conference room as well as the hallways of AGR. When Karen is not capturing beautiful pictures she keeps busy finalizing and issuing customer service reports and coordinating AGR customer billing.

Preston Park was once the site of Preston Laboratories where much of the groundbreaking glass research work of Dr. Preston was conducted. Preston Park is just a part of the vast legacy left behind by Dr. Preston.  Not only was he the founder of what is now American Glass Research in 1927, he was actively involved in Geology and the creation of nearby Moraine State Park and Lake Arthur on the site of a pre-historic glacial lake. He was also involved in the study of ornithology with particular emphasis on the migratory patterns and nesting habits of birds in Western Pennsylvania. As a scientist, he was invited to represent the glass industry at Bikini Island to witness a test of the atomic bomb. Dr. Preston also published numerous historic papers concerning the key principles of glass container technology and we are pleased to make selections of these legacy papers available on our website.



Meet With Us at PACE EUROPE

American Glass Research will be at the PACE Europe forum in Brussels, February 10–12, 2015. PACE will bring together Europe’s industry-leading packaging professionals and their pioneering case studies. Come by and meet with our experts or contact us to set up an appointment.

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Testing and Fracture Diagnosis of Glass Bottlesspacer

Bangkok Training Seminar Now Open for Enrollment

The Testing and Fracture Diagnosis of Glass Bottles training seminar, to be held at the Landmark Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand January 27–29, 2015, is now open for enrollment. Attendees will learn fracture diagnosis techniques needed to solve breakage and performance problems.

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Understanding and Preventing Impact Breakage in a Filling Line

The highest magnitude impact force that a bottle experiences during its lifetime typically occurs in the filling line. In order to ensure that breakage is minimized, a thorough analysis of the bottle design and manufacturing quality combined with a comprehensive mapping of the handling in the filling operation are essential.

1. Initially, the impact resistance of the bottle should be determined through finite element analysis (FEA) of the design. This will indicate the expected impact resistance assuming the bottles are manufactured to specification and absent of severe strength lowering flaws.

2. If actual bottles are available it is recommended that a statistically viable sample be evaluated using a pendulum impact tester to establish the maximum allowable impact level for the bottle.

3. An impact audit of the filling line should then be conducted in order to determine the actual impact levels that the bottles are experiencing through filling line handling. This is accomplished with the use of an acrylic model of the bottle which is embedded with an accelerometer (impact sensor). This model, containing the impact sensor, must be specifically calibrated for the particular bottle being evaluated. This allows for the proper conversion of the forces registered by the accelerometer (G’s) into the equivalent pendulum and trade impact velocities.

When all three steps are implemented a direct comparison between the actual impact resistance of a bottle and the impact forces that the bottle will experience in the filling line are provided. The end result delivers a clear indication of whether impact failures would be expected under the current filling line conditions for the bottle quality that was evaluated. In the event breakage is predicted, the results would also indicate specific areas for improvement on the filling line or possibly the need to improve the bottle quality. American Glass Research is uniquely positioned to assist with this service and when all three components are undertaken, we refer to it as Comprehensive Container Development.

If you need assistance in any of these areas, contact us.


Ask Our Experts


I have noticed different performance when we switch to glass of different color even when the bottle design does not change. Do the different colors of glass (amber, blue, red, flint or green) exhibit different strength values?

Colored Bottles


No. Despite the anecdotal observations to the contrary, glass strength, as opposed to many other materials, does not greatly depend on composition. Glass strength is typically defined as the magnitude of the tensile stress that is required to cause failure. Glass strength is not a material property with a specific value that can be directly correlated to glass composition. Rather, glass strength can vary over a wide range of values with the actual strength dependent upon the severity of the flaws on the surface. For a soda-lime-silica glass, the slight variations in the overall composition that are required to produce different glass colors will not have a notable effect on the strength of the glass. In summary, any strength variations noted between glass bottles of differing color are almost certainly attributable to differences in the glass surface conditions and are not related to the color.

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Did You Know?

Bottle Decorations Can Lower Glass Surface Strengths

While labeling and decorations create a unique brand identity and increase shelf appeal of products, the glass surface strength can be adversely affected through the use of certain decoration processes such as Applied Ceramic Labels (ACL) and Acid Etching. The adjacent image is a cross sectional view of ACL as shown in a Scanning Electron Microscope.

Specifically, Applied Ceramic Labels create a permanently adhered decoration through the application of ceramic frits directly onto the bottle and then heating to high temperature in order to develop a direct bond to the glass surface. The use of Acid Etching creates a surface with an irregular and blocky characteristic that diffuses light and gives the glass an appearance typically referred to as frosted.

Studies conducted at AGR have shown that the presence of voids and the non-homogeneous nature of an ACL decoration (see accompanying photo), reduce the surface strength to levels that are similar to those of a returnable container following multiple trips through the filling operation. Acid etching also reduces the glass surface strength but typically only to levels similar to those observed on a non-returnable container following a single trip through a filling line.

Other types of labeling and decorating techniques, such as pressure sensitive labeling, paper labels, and heat transfer labels typically have little affect the glass surface strength providing they are applied using proper handling techniques. Therefore, when selecting a package decoration, our recommendation is to be creative but also fully cognizant of the effect on glass surface strength. If a decoration that is known to reduce glass surface strengths is intended for use on a new container design, caution is recommended and the package design should be evaluated through finite element (FEA) analysis techniques in order to determine if the anticipated strength reduction can be accommodated by the container under the intended use conditions. If you are unsure of the consequences of a particular decoration, please let us be of assistance to you.

Complete a Design Evaluation Request Form


Training School Schedule

2015 Training Schools Finalized and Open For Enrollment

The 2015 American Glass Research Training Schedule has been finalized and is available for open enrollment. The first session gets underway with Testing and Fracture Diagnosis of Glass Bottles presented in Bangkok, Thailand. Seminars are available throughout the year at our facility in Butler, PA, USA, just north of Pittsburgh as well as in Munich, Germany and Krakow, Poland. Private, in-plant customized sessions are also available upon request.

View our Complete Training Schedule


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American Glass Research
603 Evans City Road, Butler, PA 16001
Tel: +1 (724) 482-2163

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