water glass

water glass or soluble glass, colorless, transparent, glasslike substance available commercially as a powder or as a transparent, viscous solution in water. Chemically it is sodium silicate, potassium silicate, or a mixture of these. It is prepared by fusing sodium or potassium carbonate with sand or by heating sodium or potassium hydroxide with sand under pressure. Water glass is very soluble in water, but the glassy solid dissolves slowly, even in boiling water. Water glass has adhesive properties and is fire resistant. It is used as a detergent; as a cement for glass, pottery, and stoneware; for fireproofing paper, wood, cement, and other substances; for fixing pigments in paintings and cloth printing; and for preserving eggs (it fills the pores in the eggshell, preventing entrance of air).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

More on water glass from Fact Monster:

  • soluble glass - soluble glass: soluble glass: see water glass.
  • whitewash - whitewash whitewash, white fluid commonly used as an inexpensive, impermanent coating for walls, ...
  • sodium silicate - sodium silicate sodium silicate, any one of several compounds containing sodium oxide, Na2O, and ...
  • silicate - silicate silicate, chemical compound containing silicon, oxygen, and one or more metals, e.g., ...
  • pickle - pickle pickle, general term for fruits or vegetables preserved in vinegar or brine, usually with ...

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Compounds and Elements