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Dangerous Wavelengths In Glassblowing

  1. Dec 24, 2008 #1
    Hello all,
    this is my first post on physics forums.

    I recently started working in a glass studio and am curious to know what radiation is being emitted by the equipment so that I can purchase appropriate eye protection. What wavelengths of harmful light are emitted from burning oxygen and propane/natural gas?

    I already need to buy glasses for laser safety. I am wondering if I can use the same pair for both certain colors of laser light as well as the radiation emitted from the oxy-propane torches and propane-air glory holes.

    I'm looking at this site:
    http://store.oemlasersystems.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=8_10_12 [Broken]

    Any thoughts?

    anyways -- hello physics forums!

    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 29, 2008 #2

    Andy Resnick

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    Interesting question. Do others in the studio wear eye protection? My favorite laser safety company is Kentek, but in the end what matters is matching the safety device to your needs.

    Other than welder's goggles, I'm not sure what would be appropriate- laser goggles are generally only good for a very specific waveband, so the overwhelming majority of light from a glory hole would pass right through.
  4. Dec 30, 2008 #3
    Apart from intensity in your scenario, I'm not sure if any significant harmful wavelengths occur, such as UV. I don't know.
  5. Dec 30, 2008 #4


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    Normal polycarbonate safety goggles block UV pretty well and if i was working with bubbles of hot glass I would be wearing them anyway.
    Most visible wavelengths for thermal sources (ie not lasers) you would be protected by the blink reflex - you aren't going to stare at something as bright as the sun for long enough to do any damage ( unless you are an idiot)
  6. Jan 13, 2009 #5
    Thanks all, for the responses.
    I had been told by one glass blower that any sort of plastic lens would block all the UV radiation. Another glass blower told me that not even UV filtered sunglasses would be sufficient and that some sort of secondary light baffle was necessary. To the internet with this! I replied.
    Perhaps someone with some chemistry knowledge can tell me about an oxygen propane reaction.
  7. Jan 13, 2009 #6


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    It depends on the plastic. Polycarbonate (perspex/lexan) used for safety goggles blocks UV
    And I would definitely be wearing them anyway around bubbling hot glass.
    I wouldn't wear regular sunglasses, you don't know what plastic they are made of and what they would do if a hot bit of debris hit them - they might melt, crack or explode!

    Propane only burns at around 2000C (about half an oxy-acetene welder) so there is going to be almost no UV.
    (I'm not convinced that you can get damaging levels of UV from gas welding at all)

    You might want to wear darkened eye protection just for comfort if you are staring into the flame for a long time. Most welding goggles might be too dark.
    Green laser goggles might be dark enough to block the blue propane flame but they are generaly a lot more expensive than welding goggles.

    Whatever you wear make sure it is impact resistant and has whatever kite mark/UL/CSA stamp is used in your country.
  8. Jan 12, 2012 #7
    Wow....not one piece of correct information here. Let me see if I can clear this up.

    Glassblowers wear didymium lenses to filter the bright yellow sodium flare given off by all glass when exposed to high heat. Regular (soda) glass only needs this protection. The lenses are not even really about protection so much as they give you the ability to SEE what you are working on. If you work with larger pieces of borosilicate glass then you need to ADD a #2 welders shade to your didymium lenses for UV and IR protection.

    Gary, Dispensing Optician AND Glassblower.
  9. Jan 12, 2012 #8


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    FYI fly_boy, this thread has been inactive for 3 years.
  10. Jan 12, 2012 #9
    FYI that's why I subscribed to this thread.;D
    Thanks for the info, Gary!
  11. Jan 12, 2012 #10


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    Lol! Can't believe you came back after 3 years without being a regular member!
  12. Jan 13, 2012 #11
    Seeing as he seems to be more accurate than the rest of the posts put together,I'd forgive him for the necro.
    This is pretty hilarious. You mean over 3 years, no other threads have interested you?
  13. Feb 2, 2012 #12
    Why don't you have better things to do that point out how old the thread is?!

    At least one person appreciated my information.

    I have been interested in many threads here I just don't post unless I have something to add to the information.

    You are welcome.
  14. Feb 2, 2012 #13


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    Because most people don't realize that when they do this, the people in the thread are usually gone and any questions that they may have or answers that they give may not be seen by the original posters. This seems to be an exception to the norm.

    I think we were referring to Koopdi, the OP of the thread. :biggrin:
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