Beloit College > Chemistry > Scientific Glassblowing

Scientific glassblowing uses a fuel oxygen torch for heat to constrict or fuse glass and your breath to expand or inflate glass. This course does not aim to make you an accomplished professional glassblower. We will limit ourselves to items that can be made from borosilicate tubing and rod with basic equipment and a minimum of annealing. By hands-on practice you can learn to make the joints needed for useful applications and repairs. Lecture time will include demonstrations and laboratory time will give you the opportunity for practice. You will be expected to produce a series of items and there will also be some reading.

Meet for class (Th 11:00) and then move to the lab for demonstrations.
Practice with a partner between meetings.

Class 1
Class 2
Class 3
Class 4
Class 5
Class 6

Class 7

Class 8
Class 9

Checklist of items and skills

  1. Knowledge of glass (soda-lime, lead, borosilicate, and silica) and its properties
  2. Cutting tubing
  3. a. scratch and break for small tubing
    b. scratch and heat stress for large tubing
  4. Pulling a point
  5. Sealing tubing
  6. a. small tube with round bottom (test tube)
    b. large tube with round bottom
    c. tube with flat bottom (should stand)
  7. Painting (adding glass with melted rod) and peeling (removing excess melted glass with cold rod)
  8. Flaring tubing
  9. flare (no pour spout)
  10. Joining tubing (straight joint)
  11. a. same diameter tubes joined
    b. unequal diameter tubes joined
  1. T-joint
  2. Tubulatures (marias)
  3. Bent tube
  4. Through-seal or ring seal
  5. Projects
  6. a. test tube with pour spout
    b. NMR tube washer
    c. Bubbler
    d. Vigreux condenser
    e. Liebig condenser
  7. Extra credit
  8. a. U joint
    b. Dewar seal
    c. Volumetric pipet

George Lisensky, Beloit College.
Last modified March 10, 2015.