Iron Pyrite in Glass Coloration
Glass Coloration Application
The most common use for Iron Pyrite today is the production of amber coloured glass as a container glass oxide. It is the most reliable method of achieving this colour and it provides a high level of UV protection for the contents of glass containers and interiors of buildings or rooms with amber windows, often found in rooms designated for antique artwork or text storage. Rubber, explosives, sulphur-impregnated compounds, and reductant industries also frequently use iron pyrite.
- Creates a rich amber colour in glass
- Provides excellent UV protection
- Reduces furnace heating costs by naturally heating while colouring
- Absorbs nearly all radiation in wavelengths shorter than 450nm
- The amount of Iron Pyrite used will be approximately 2.5kgs per ton of sand.
- Golden amber will contain about 0.15% Fe203. Dark amber will contain as much as 0.40% Fe203.
- A standard beer bottle amber will contain 0.25% to 0.30% Fe203.
If sufficient iron is not available from the sand and pyrites, more can be added using red iron oxide. Using additional Iron Pyrite to increase the iron is not recommended, as this will add too much sulphide and create an unstable glass. African Pegmatite also supplies red iron oxide for this application.
Amber glass is produced using iron, sulphur, and carbon. The sulphite concentration in the amber glass melt after fining is sufficient to produce ferric iron and sulphide, which is required for amber chromophore formation during the cooling process.
Amber is a reduced glass because of the relatively high level of carbon used. All commercial container glass formulations contain carbon, but most are the lesser, oxidized glasses.
Iron Pyrite was first added to glass to achieve an amber colour in the 18th century. It has been used for centuries in various applications and remains in use for the production of sulphur dioxide and sulfuric acid. It has recently been used as a cathode material for lithium batteries.
This brassy yellow mineral has a bright, metallic lustre and a chemical composition of FeS. It is the most common sulphide and is often called “Fool’s Gold.”
How to Make Amber Glass
Depending on the desired shade, .15% to .40% container glass pigment is added to the sand before the melting process. How to make amber glass for a standard beer bottle is to add .25% to .30% to the sand prior to melting. If the iron level is too low, it can be raised using red iron oxide, also available from your iron pyrite supplier.
Iron disulphide (FeS2) is an iron sulphide efficiently used in conjunction with anthracite or carbon to create a rich amber glass. Fe2O3 is also used with these two compounds when the iron levels are not sufficient. It is not advised to use iron pyrite powder to increase iron levels, as this would increase the presence of sulphides, making the glass unstable and possibly grey. It is suggested that red iron oxide be used to increase the iron content. African Pegmatite also supply this material should you be interested.
Glasses coloured with carbon require this container glass oxide to modify the pale yellow to the desired deep amber colour. In fact, early studies showed that amber glass thought to be coloured with a carbon container glass pigment actually contained little to no carbon and was coloured with pyrite. It is important to note, however, that the presence of carbon or anthracite can improve the quality of the glass and the colour.
Pyrite is soluble in melts that contain sodium sulphide, as demonstrated during the desulphurisation of iron by soda ash and sodium silicates. The lyes create favourable conditions for sulpho-ferrite formation, which increases the red in the glass. If more iron exists in the melt than can be absorbed with the formation of sulpho-ferrite, the glass with turn a greyish brown.
Additional Iron Pyrite Applications
This container glass colourant is known commonly to most people as Fool’s Gold, but imitating a precious metal is one of the least impressive things this versatile material can do. As mentioned, iron sulphide is used primarily as a container glass colourant, which provides impressive and complete UV protection to the contents of the container. This application is the most common, but as an international iron pyrite supplier, we’re familiar with several other iron pyrite applications.
Fool’s gold is often mined for the purpose of extracting the real gold within, which often exists in amounts high enough to be worth the mining and extraction. Brake pads and grinding wheels are often made with this amber glass oxide in the form of iron disulphide or FeS2 iron pyrite powder, creating a hard, abrasive surface. It is also used in the production of cast iron and advanced solar panels.
Where is Pyrite Found?
Amber glass oxide can be mined from deposits that are generally found in and around coal beds, inside carbonate rock and vein deposits.
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