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Leaded vs. Non-Leaded Glass: Implications for X-ray Inspection

Different types of glass can have markedly different characteristics.  Learn more about what is important to know about glass and your food and beverage safety inspection process.

There are two primary designation of common glass – leaded glass and non-leaded glass: 

Leaded Glass: Leaded glass, also known as lead glass or crystal, contains lead oxide as a significant component. This type of glass is prized for its clarity, brilliance, and refractive properties, making it ideal for decorative items, optical lenses, and radiation shielding applications in healthcare settings. The inclusion of lead oxide gives leaded glass a higher density compared to non-leaded alternatives.

Non-Leaded Glass: Non-leaded glass, commonly referred to as soda-lime glass (SLG), is the most prevalent type of glass used in everyday applications. It is composed primarily of silica (sand), soda ash, and lime, with no lead content and a lower density than leaded glass. Non-leaded glass is versatile, cost-effective, and widely used in windows, bottles, cookware, and food packaging.

Density and X-ray Inspection: Why It Matters

Density plays a crucial role in X-ray inspection, where the goal is to detect and identify foreign materials or contaminants within products. Leaded glass, with its higher density due to the presence of lead oxide, poses distinct challenges in X-ray inspection. Its density makes it easier to detect compared to non-leaded glass – but is rarely found in manufacturing environments as a contaminant (broken soda-lime glass containers are much more common).

Soda-Lime Glass: Contamination Best Identified with X-ray Inspection

Given the prevalence of soda-lime glass in manufacturing and its lower density compared to leaded glass, it emerges as the preferred specification for X-ray inspection testing. The lower density of soda-lime glass makes it more challenging to detect during inspection, which makes detecting SLG at the same size as Leaded glass far more impressive and indicative of real-world manufacturing conditions.

Moreover, soda-lime glass is far more common in everyday products, ranging from food packaging to consumer goods. Its widespread use makes it a prime candidate for X-ray inspection, as detecting contaminants within soda-lime glass products is of paramount importance for ensuring product safety and quality.

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