What is annealing? Why is it necessary? | Bullseye

What is annealing? Why is it necessary?

Glass expansion due to heating, or shrinking due to cooling, requires a controlled process, called annealing, to unify the internal temperaturs.

One of the most distinctive physical properties of glass is how it reacts to temperature variation.  When it heats, it expands; and as it cools, it contracts.  These processes create stresses within the glass, especially between the interior and the surface where the widest temperature variations can be found.

To relieve stresses, which can lead to breakage at room temperature, it is necessary to cool glass in a controlled manner through a predetermined temperature gradient. This allows the surface and interior to cool uniformly.  This controlled process for cooling glass to relieve interior stresses is called "annealing."

For general information about annealing, see  TechNote 4: Heat & Glass. To learn about annealing large-scale work, see TechNote 7: Monitoring Kiln Temperatures for Successful Annealing. You may also wish to see our Annealing Chart for Thick Slabs.

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Helpful Resources

Video lesson: Firing: Basic Principles
Video lesson: Recommended Annealing Cycle for Bullseye Glass


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