Strength Impairment Mechanism of Glass in Aqueous Systems

Article metrics


RECENTLY we conducted a precision tension (‘Instron’) strength study of two glass fibre fabrics exposed to several different environments. The resulting data are summarized in Fig. 1. When one considers a logical basis for the experimental data, it appears that the water deterioration of glass is a chemical solution process. There is a two-fold evidence for this view. First, the higher pH exposures of the glass fibres give rise to a greater weakening than with a simple water exposure. This agrees well with the observed solubility versus pH relations of typical glasses, and it implies that the molal activation energies for glass fracture in a glass system with microcracks present therein are lower in the high pH solutions1,2. Such high pH solutions might be found useful to accelerate or expedite glass fractures where this slight solution effect can be tolerated. Second, the drying out of the glass fibres after exposure did not serve to restore the full original strength of the glass fibres. If only a physical adsorption were involved a full reversibility could be expected.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1

    Stanworth, J. E., ‘Physical Properties of Glass’, 156 (Oxford University Press, 1950).

  2. 2

    ibid., 114.

  3. 3

    Morey, G. W., ‘The Properties of Glass’, 330 (Reinhold Publishing Corp., New York, 1954).

  4. 4

    Ref. 1, 95.

  5. 5

    Ref. 1, 92.

  6. 6

    Ref. 2, 330.

Download references

Author information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

RADD, F., OERTLE, D. Strength Impairment Mechanism of Glass in Aqueous Systems. Nature 184, 976 (1959) doi:10.1038/184976a0

Download citation

Further reading


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.