All About Dichroic Glass

Discussion in 'Smoking Accessories Q&A' started by MissSpliffstein, Aug 3, 2012.

  1. #1 MissSpliffstein, Aug 3, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 30, 2014
    By: The Glass OtakuOne of the most fascinating styles found in glassblowing these days is the use of dichroic glass. You very well may be familiar with dichroic glass, or maybe you've seen it before, or you may have no idea what it is. In any case, I hope this'll teach you at least a little bit more about it, and develop your appreciation for this metallic layering. It's a mysterious little type of glass that sort of screws with you when you see it, because it appears to be two different colors. Actually, the word “dichroic” was formed after the Greek word dikhroos, which literally translates to “two colored”. This phenomenon is used in a multitude of industries for both practical purposes and its mesmerizing effect. The unique light filtering properties of dichroic glass have been used since the ancient Greek Empire, but had had little use until that last half century or so.
    Dichroic glass was only brought back to popularity and actual use by none other than NASA. When the space organization developed plans to send man to the moon In the 1950s and ‘60s, they needed to find a way to shield their delicate spacecraft from the sun. That's where dichroic filtering came in.
    NASA Experiments with Layered Dichroic Filters
    This person is holding single sheet of dichroic film.
    Notice how different shades of blue and gold can be seen in the sheet.
    NASA's use of dichroic glass perfectly demonstrates the theory of dichroism: thin layers of crystalline metals and silicates transmit some wavelengths while reflecting others. Knowing the wavelength of the sun's rays, NASA figured out how to engineer dichroic glass to reflect destructively hot solar rays as opposed to absorbing them, keeping their spacecraft free of radiation damage. This discovery by NASA got the ball rolling when it came to dichro in the artistic glass movement. A man named Jerry Sandberg is credited with bringing dichro to glass art industry, after he pioneered a vacuum depositing vaporizer. Sandberg later met another person in particular who deserves credit when it comes to popularizing dichroic glass: Murray Schwartz, who worked with NASA as an aerospace engineer developing dichroic filters. Schwartz ended up experimenting with dichroic glass after his work with NASA as he became fascinated with the unique beauty of dichroic films and their use in so called “chameleon glass” (named for its color-changing ability).
    Dichroic Fan-Necklace
    “I was very much interested in thin film physics, and I also had a keen attraction to dichroic glass, which, in the purity of its narrow bands of color, is overwhelmingly beautiful. When coupled with the feature of colors that change, the material is quite fascinating, almost magical, and certainly appealing. So I decided to make a little 
    business out of it." – Murray Schwartz
    Schwartz started a dichroic art company in the early ‘70s called Kroma Glass, which has created a number of highly sought-after stained glass windows, artistic tables, jewelry and other sculptures. This form of art transferred of course into the glass pipe industry, and has proved to be one of the most high-tech artistic applications in glassblowing.
    The process in which dichroic film is deposited onto a glass surface is complicated and technical. To create dichroic glass, an electron beam vaporizes a combination of quartz crystal and metal oxides inside a vacuum, allowing the vapors to float upwards and condense on a glass surface, settling to form a crystalline structure. This dichroic film can be manipulated with incredibly thin layers of metals like gold or silver, and/or oxides of certain metals like titanium, chromium, aluminum, zirconium, magnesium, or silica. Any combination of these metals can be used to create a dichroic filter, in as many as 50 layers in a single dichroic film. To give you an idea of how tiny these metal crystals are, even with 50 layers of metal coatings, the dichro film is hardly 30 millionths of an inch thick. With careful control of thickness and metals used in the filter, a host of beautiful reflective colors can be made. While entire sheets of dichroic film can be used to achieve a desired look, dichroic layers can be applied to any type of glass, including fine grain frit.
    Dichroic Glass Sheet
    Bubbler by Eusheen & Revere Glass
    Bubbler by Turtle Time Glass (above) and detail (below)
    In whichever form dichroic layering is used, it's always strikingly beautiful. Well-incorporated dichroic art can be gripping to the point where you find yourself staring at it from all different angles for a good long while. If your collection is dichro-free, I recommend you change that. Grasscity offers a great selection of dichroic-clad pipes of different shapes and sizes. Be on the lookout for this unique multifaceted material; it just may be the clinching factor in whether or not you decide to pick up your new artistic glass piece.

  2. everyone should check out the turtle time glass website. ITS SOOO FUCKING SICK

    they have some very nice pieces at some reasonable prices. ya know, for waht they are.
  3. My FAVORITE type of glass when it comes to pipes n such<33
    I had this sherlock that had every color in the spectrum blending alll around the pipe and each color had a different pattern and size of specks.. FRIKKEN AMAZING<3

    Loved that pipe more than anything. Been on a mission for one ever since.
  4. :eek::eek::eek::love::metal:
  5. Well... I found my future spoon :love: haha. Definitley buying one in October as my own "birthday gift" haha. Those are beyond sick.
  6. Informative article, and sweet glass work. I was drooling over some expensive pieces today at a LHS. Im just too poor to ever let myself even save money for one. Especially since every bowl I ever owned ended up broke. I been through a shirley and a spoon in 2 months. Fumbles. Just bought a new 25 dollar spoon today. Hope this one last a while. I would rather spend my cash on kush.

  7. oooo some awesome pictures to go with the information. Very nice, very nice.

  8. You're not kidding they have some really cool works of art. I'd probably be afraid to get that green bubbler dirty. My hands started shaking just thinking of it dropping on a hard countertop and going bye-bye
  9. i love dichroic glass pipes!! so awesome looking....i actually just broke my first dichro pipe that i had for a few years ='(

    thats really cool how they create the dichro glass.....
  10. Ya man it reallly is pretty awesome, I'm def impressed.
  11. wow that site is insane! really informtive thread thanks for posting learn something new everyday!
  12. Nice, I've been wanting a solid explanation of what dichro is for a while now.
  13. that glass is absolutely sick.

    bummer the prices are so steep :(

    definitely worth it though, id just be terrified of breaking it, or someone else breaking it
  14. Dichro sux balls that shits ugly and has been around forever its not hard to work its jus ugly as shit lol

  15. words of a fool. also the difficulty of working the glass is irrelevant, shit looks good.
  16. Ya right if it was soooo cool more people would do it haha there's a reason that shit don't sell its over priced junk haha
  17. Actually dichro can be pretty hard to work with without burning it out. Have you ever worked with it? What are you basing your claims off of?
  18. Ya I have worked with dicro it sux lol ya ice cream is hard to work with too if u let it melt haha every1 has an opinion yours is jus wrong I guess haha jk
  19. it has caught on.

    herbal jedi, you might be living under a rock.

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