Borosilicate glass might sound like something out of a science lab but you probably have something made of it sitting in your kitchen right now. It’s commonly used by some of the biggest names in kitchenware for its non-toxic composition and durable design. But what exactly is borosilicate glass and how is it used?
Borosilicate glass is made by melting sand with boron trioxide to limit the material’s ability to expand when exposed to heat. This makes it the ideal material for making glass cookware, containers, and even scientific tools. You’ve likely used it before without even realizing it.
In this overview, we’ll explain everything you need to know about borosilicate glass. Get ready to learn how it’s made, what sets it apart from standard glass, where you’ve likely seen it before, and how safe it is for your family and friends.
What is Borosilicate Glass?
Borosilicate glass is a special type of glass made by mixing 70-80% silica sand with boron trioxide. At first glance, you likely wouldn’t be able to tell the two-component materials apart but, when heated, boron trioxide absorbs massive amounts of heat before crystallizing into a glass. Once the two fuses into the glass, boron trioxide slows the annealing process, producing a harder, more durable material.
Thanks to its ability to absorb such high temperatures, boron trioxide also makes the glass less susceptible to thermal exposure, thus guaranteeing that the final product can withstand a lot of heat without melting, warping, or cracking. For this reason, borosilicate glass is a popular choice for chefs and scientists alike.
What is Borosilicate Glass Used For?
Just about everyone who’s gone through the public school system has used borosilicate glass at least once in their life. Since it’s able to withstand incredibly high temperatures without melting or cracking, borosilicate glass is the material de jour for making scientific equipment such as test tubes, beakers, and stirring rods. If you’ve ever heated a beaker over a Bunsen burner, you’ve used borosilicate glass.
What is the Difference Between Regular Glass and Borosilicate Glass?
Besides the added boron trioxides, borosilicate glass stands out from regular glass for a few important reasons:
1) Durability – First and foremost, borosilicate glass is more durable than standard glass. Most objects made from borosilicate glass can survive a knock or two without chipping, cracking, or shattering.
2) Heat Resistance – As we’ve mentioned above, borosilicate glass is prized for its ability to withstand incredibly high temperatures without cracking or melting.
3) Stability – Borosilicate glass is highly stable, meaning it won’t leach chemicals or toxins. In fact, it’s so stable that it’s used in nuclear reactors to transport nuclear waste without leaching radiation.
Of course, just looking at it, you might not be able to tell the difference between borosilicate glass and regular glass. In the next section, we’ll spill the beans and fill you in on how to tell the difference.
How Can You Tell if Glass is Borosilicate?
Before we explain exactly how to tell the two apart, we need to get a little more specific. Most glass kitchenware is made from one of two materials—soda-lime glass or borosilicate glass. Soda-lime glass is made from a combination of silica sand, sodium oxide, and calcium oxide. It’s able to withstand high temperatures but at a lower coefficient than borosilicate glass.
If you’re unsure which material your glass kitchenware is made from, you can try eyeballing it to make a rough estimation. Take a close look at the edge of your baking dish, container, or bowl and try to find a bluish-green tinge. If it’s there, you’ve got soda-lime glass. If not, you’ve got borosilicate glass. However, this test isn’t exactly accurate.
If you want to know which material you’ve got, you’ll have to contact your nearest scientist. They can heat the material to extreme temperatures, scratch it with diamonds, or use a special optical lens to gauge which type of glass you have. If this sounds like too much effort, there’s one other option.
Simply check with the manufacturer! All glass kitchenware brands should publicly disclose which type of glass they used to manufacture their products. If it’s not easily available on the object itself, check the company’s website or send them an email to enquire.
Is Borosilicate Glass Safe for Health?
Remember when we said that borosilicate glass is made from boron trioxide?
In its raw form, boron is unsafe for human or animal consumption. It’s such a powerful toxin that it’s commonly used as a pesticide. In dry seasons, it sometimes washes into drinking water supplies, leading to widespread boron poisoning. So, if it’s so dangerous, why are we making glass from boron?
The trick is to bind boron with silica glass. When boron trioxide is melted and fused with silica sands, it becomes inert and highly stable. Even if exposed to chemical reactants, the boron cannot escape its glassy prison, keeping you safe from its toxicity. It’s so stable that borosilicate glass is even used in nuclear reactors to prevent radiation from leaching from waste.
Is Borosilicate Glass Safe in the Kitchen?
The boron in borosilicate glass is safe because it stays trapped inside the glass.
Remember, borosilicate glass can withstand incredibly high temperatures. It has a melting point of around 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Unless you currently own a smelting furnace, you’re unlikely to ever reach those temperatures in your home kitchen. Therefore, you can safely cook with borosilicate glass.
Is Borosilicate Glass More Durable?
Compared to standard glass, borosilicate glass is definitely more durable. Thanks to the addition of boron trioxide, the material takes a long time to cool during the manufacturing process. Slower cooling helps harden the glass and prevents it from becoming brittle. Once it finally cools into a baking dish or storage container, it’s strong enough to survive a trip through the dishwasher or a few bumps and drops.
That being said, there are a few things you should avoid doing to your borosilicate glass cookware:
➔ Sudden temperature changes – Avoid shocking borosilicate glass with sudden and drastic temperature changes. Moving borosilicate glass directly from a freezer into an oven can shock the material and cause it to crack.
➔ High drops – Just because it can survive a few bumps and knocks without cracking or chipping doesn’t mean you can drop a borosilicate dish from the top of your counter onto a hard stone floor.
➔ Physical trauma – Borosilicate glass is still glass. Don’t think that just because it’s more durable it can stand up to a hefty smack. It will break if you throw it or hit it with something hard or heavy.
As long as you use your borosilicate glass kitchenware as it’s intended, you shouldn’t have to worry about it breaking. It’s oven, microwave, and dishwasher safe and can withstand everyday bumps and knocks.
Is Borosilicate Glass Better for the Environment?
Stop to consider your daily habits. Do you buy a plastic water bottle every day? Do you use plastic containers at home? If so, you’re actively contributing to the ongoing plastic crisis affecting the world’s oceans and waste management systems. Every year, it’s estimated that 91% of the world’s plastic production goes unrecycled, left to be thrown in landfills and onto garbage barges.
Switching to borosilicate glass can help reduce your dependency on plastics by eliminating your daily use of plastic bottles and replacing your warped plastic food containers. Borosilicate glass lasts far longer than plastics and can be reused every day for years on end. Best of all, a borosilicate thermos or water bottle can keep your beverages hot or cold far longer than a standard plastic bottle.
Consider switching from plastic to borosilicate glass and do your part to save the planet. It’s stylish, durable, and cheaper in the long run than buying plastic bottle after plastic bottle.
Is Borosilicate Glass More Expensive than Normal Glass?
If we compare two glass baking dishes—one made from soda-lime glass and the other made from borosilicate glass—the borosilicate product will most likely be more expensive. This comes down to the manufacturing process needed to produce the material:
➔ Composite materials – Boron trioxide is far less common than sodium and calcium. It makes up just 0.001% of the Earth’s crust and is, therefore, more expensive to use than other elements.
➔ Energy consumption – Borosilicate glass only melts at extremely high temperatures. It, therefore, requires a massive amount of energy to transform the composite materials into a sheet of malleable glass. More energy consumption drives up the cost of production.
➔ Higher quality – After going through an intense production process, finalized borosilicate glass objects are considered high-quality glassware and therefore cost more than standard annealed glass.
As far as we are concerned, though, borosilicate kitchen and glassware are well worth the added price. Thanks to its higher durability and heat resistance, borosilicate glass containers will last far longer than traditional glass kitchenware, saving you the cost of replacing your broken or damaged objects in the future.
Where to Buy the Best Borosilicate Glass Cookware
Crystalia is an American brand based out of California that manufactures high-quality glass and kitchenware. Our products are all non-toxic, as well as lead and BPA-free, and are manufactured following strict European guidelines. When you purchase from Crystalia, you can guarantee that you’re getting both luxury and superior quality.
Crystalia currently has 15 unique borosilicate glass items for sale, including:➔ Square and rectangular baking dishes
➔ Traditional Turkish tea glasses
➔ Glass egg holders
➔ Glass coffee pots
➔ Matcha bowls
➔ Ice cream dishes
Every item is designed and produced by Crystalia’s team of expert glassmakers to the highest standards. They guarantee 100% customer satisfaction.
Crystalia glassware is both beautiful and affordable, costing well within most people’s budgets. We highly recommend checking out their line of borosilicate kitchenware and investing in high-quality glass today.
Borosilicate glass is a highly durable glass material made from silica sands and boron trioxide used to withstand incredibly high temperatures. Yet it’s also a common household item used to make glass baking dishes, coffee pots, mugs, and other heated glassware. Check your kitchen and you probably have some already.
If not, we highly recommend investing in new borosilicate glass kitchenware. It’s more durable and will last longer in your oven, dishwasher, or microwave than any other glass material. Check out Crystalia’s line of opulent borosilicate items and make your purchase today. We guarantee you’ll be satisfied with the quality.
Stop relying on low-quality, environmentally hazardous plastics when you could experience the benefits of superior, non-toxic borosilicate glass kitchenware. Make the change today and experience the luxury.