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Why Is Glass Transparent? [Science]

The transparency of glass is such a fundamental component of our daily lives–it allows light into our homes, high visibility while driving our cars, and the color of wine to be admired–but many people misunderstand why exactly glass is transparent while other solid materials are not. Watch this informative video to find out why.

Professor Moriarty explains, in the video above, why the properties of glass allow light to pass through and how it has everything to do with photon/electron interaction and nothing to do with the commonly held misconception that glass is some sort of leaky loosely constructed solid.

Energy Gap: Why Glass Is Transparent [Sixty Symbols via i09]

Jason Fitzpatrick is warranty-voiding DIYer and all around geek. When he's not documenting mods and hacks he's doing his best to make sure a generation of college students graduate knowing they should put their pants on one leg at a time and go on to greatness, just like Bruce Dickinson. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 03/21/11

Comments (10)

  1. Jaxter Cloverfield

    he make me nervous i don’t know why :S i think his voice tone

  2. Shy

    Now I just want to know how mirrors work.

  3. Odin

    @shy Aluminum foil taped smoothly against a window

  4. Gisi

    Excelente. Muchas gracias por este aporte.

  5. Rob

    I would rather read the text, than watch a video.
    Couldn’t you provide both ?

  6. PTR

    so how does a photon actually “pass through” the glass. Is it a wave, or an actual physical entity?

  7. Paul

    @PTR – a photon is a packet of energy (that exhibits behaviours of both particles and waves = particle/wave model of light).

    My question is:

    A red filter lets through red light and blocks green/blue. According to the model presented here that is because the red light doesn’t have enough energy to excite the electrons so it is transmitted while the blue/green photons do have enough energy and are therefore absorbed.

    However a blue filter will allow blue light to pass through (high energy) but block the green and red light (lower energy photons). How does this fit the explanation given here?????

  8. Ed

    Actually glass, like some quartz and others, are some sort of leaky loosely constructed solid. Its just not thats why they are transparent.

  9. Masc

    A comment on IR (infra red) might be helpful
    CaC

  10. KZ

    My understanding, and I am not joking is that glass is a liquid with extremely high viscosity.

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