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Name: Warwick H.
Status: Other
Age: 50s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: September 2002

Are glass sinks practical? I observe that glass sinks and basins are in increasingly in vogue in some houses. I shudder to think what can happen if hot water, which is set to boiling point in most houses these days, is allowed to pour into one. Are they all they are cracked up to be, as I might put it? Will glass withstand such temperatures? How so?? Also, from what I have seen, the metallic fittings which are attached to these glass sinks react differently to glass as regards temperature change. Another conundrum. Am I cracked?

Well, part of it depends on the glass. Borosilicate glass, among other types, has very good high-temperature properties. Laboratory glassware and baking dishes can be made out of it. Borosilicate does not expand very much when heated (or contract much when cooled), so it tends not to crack from uneven heating.

Also, domestic hot water usually is not all that hot. It is often hot enough to burn skin, but that is nowhere near boiling. Domestic hot water is seldom hotter than 70 Celsius. On an absolute scale, 70 C is only 25% hotter than 0 C.

You are correct that metal and glass expand to different degrees when heated. This certainly is something that designers need to consider when making glass sinks. Metal and ceramics expand differently when heated as well, so the same consideration is required when making sinks and other fixtures from the more familiar porcelain.

I would expect that the biggest problem with glass fixtures compared to porcelain ones is that scratches and water spots would be more obvious. They'd probably look great as long as they're never used! Maybe for the guest bathroom?

Richard E. Barrans Jr., Ph.D.
Director of Academic Programs
PG Research Foundation, Darien, Illinois

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