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Glass in electrical engineering: The perfect conductor?

Yes and no, as glass as such is a rather poor conductor. That means: It could also be used as an insulator. The problem why glass is not used as an insulator in electrical engineering is probably its fragility. Porcelain is much more sturdy, although shatter-proof glass is available.

But back to our topic: Where is glass used in electrical engineering? Common lamps are the most well-known elements. They usually consist of glass which is more or less transparent.

Glass plays a special role in modern electrical engineering. One example is intelligent glass. Experts refer to it as electrochromic glass. That means that the light transmission coefficient is changed through the applied DC voltage: The glass changes its level of transparency under voltage. At three Volts, for example, the glass turns blue.

When the voltage is changed or removed from the glass, it changes colour again. Against this background, glass has many applications in electrical engineering: A touchscreen, for example, is basically a very thin coated glass pane.

It reacts to heat and when it is touched, it reacts to the very weak electrical impulse created. A state-of-the-art laser can be used to project shapes, writing and symbols into the glass which only become visible when light shines on the screen and/or voltage is applied. So glass should be the material of the future.

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