Scientists develop laser technology to bond glass and metal

New technology to weld glass to metal and flexible glass to glass has been developed by industry scientists in Yorkshire.


Experts from Glass Technology Services (GTS) in Sheffield are working with Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh and a consortium of leading industry partners to fuse glass to metal, and  to hermetically seal flexible glass using an ultrafast laser system.

According to British Glass, the difference in thermal properties glass could shatter if conventional heat bonding techniques were used, so adhesives are used instead. However, this can be messy and unreliable as the glues can degrade.  A laser system is said to eliminate the need for glue, which is said to increase durability and design possibilities.

Rob Ireson, leader of the GTS innovation team (Dr Owen McGann and David Eustace), said: “We have been very excited by this project. It has massive potential in many industries which need to attach metal to glass.

“Our part in the project has built on the GTS expertise in OLED lighting (organic light-emitting diode devices). Our in-depth knowledge of glass science and materials processing will help maximise the robustness of the final bonded components.

“GTS will also be exploiting its extensive networks within the glass industry and related sectors to identify new applications which might benefit from the UtraWELD technology.”