Thin Glass Films vs. Thick Glass Films
Glass films are categorized into two types: thick films and thin films. While thin glass films are normally thinner than thick glass films, there is some crossover, therefore, a “thick film” can be thinner than a “thin film” in some instances.
Thin and thick glass films are often distinguished by the manufacturing technique employed. Thin glass films with thicknesses ranging from sub-nanometer to several microns are often manufactured using vapor deposition techniques, in which vaporized silicon compounds are oxidized and the resulting silicon oxide (glass) condenses on a substrate.
The thickness of thick glass films, on the other hand, can range from a few microns to several millimeters, and they are typically deposited as suspensions such as slurries, pastes, or inks. Screen printing and tape-casting are two examples of thick film processes.
Applications of Thick Glass Films
Glass is often employed as a sealing material due to its tunable coefficient of thermal expansion.1 This leads to glass seals that can be adjusted to meet the thermal expansion properties of the components they create a seal between, resulting in a dependable seal in thermal cycling applications.
Thick film processes help create glass seals. Glass is first manufactured as a powder, with the composition and particle sizes tailored to the application. Powdered glass is combined with an agglomeration agent before being applied directly to a component via robotic dispensers, tape casting, or screen printing. The entire assembly is heated in a furnace for many hours to melt and vitrify the glass powder into a bonded glass seal.2
Glass seals are frequently employed in energy storage, particularly in solid oxide fuel cells and metal ion and thermal batteries, where seal integrity over a broad range of temperatures is crucial. Glass is also employed in high-temperature sensors and sensitive perovskite photovoltaic cells to create high-performance seals.
Read more: Thin and Thick Glass Film Applications