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Thread: Question about something that happened to me a long time ago

  1. #1 Question about something that happened to me a long time ago 
    jb7 is offline
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    Mar 2010
    Not sure if this is the correct subforum, but I've always wanted to know why this happened. Please move if it's in the wrong place

    Okay, so around 10 years ago I was thirsty, so decided to have a glass of water. I saw a glass on the sink, and so went to reach for it. However, as I went to reach for it, my nail touched the glass first (VERY VERY lightly.) Instantly, the drinking glass smashed into a billion pieces, and the bits went flying in every single corner. These little bits, that the glass had somehow smashed into were very small, and now covered the entire sink as well as a lot of the floor

    any idea why this happened? it's always bugged me!


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  3. #2  
    Forum Masters Degree thyristor's Avatar
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    Feb 2008
    I'm absolutely no expert on this, but I'd still like to comment on this. Had there been extreme changes in temperature that day? If so, these changes could have caused a sort of tension in the glass due to expansion and contraction. This built-in tension could then have been released when you touched the glass.

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  4. #3  
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    It seems like it could have been "toughened glass" which perhaps had a scratch in it.


    Toughened glass must be cut to size or pressed to shape before toughening and cannot be re-worked once toughened. Polishing the edges or drilling holes in the glass is carried out before the toughening process starts. Because of the balanced stresses in the glass, damage to the glass will eventually result in the glass shattering into thumbnail-sized pieces. The glass is most susceptible to breakage due to damage to the edge of the glass where the tensile stress is the greatest, but shattering can also occur in the event of a hard impact in the middle of the glass pane or if the impact is concentrated (for example, striking the glass with a point). Using toughened glass can pose a security risk in some situations because of the tendency of the glass to shatter completely upon hard impact rather than leaving shards in the window frame[
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  5. #4  
    Time Lord
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    Apr 2008
    About 20 years ago IKEA had a popular line of glasses that were found to explode.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  6. #5  
    Forum Sophomore
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    Sep 2009
    Goomalling, Western Australia
    don't take it personally, jb7 - it's not common, but it happens ...

    this page - Glass failures - gives a few causes, including thermal changes, and nickel sulphide inclusions ...

    some (myself included) have wondered whether simple static electricity might be the actual trigger in instances which include light human contact at the moment of shattering, but I haven't found any reported studies yet ...
    Nature abhors perfection; cats abhor a vacuum.

    "I don't know; I'm making it up as I go ..." Dr H Jones (Jr).
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