The most significant characteristic of glass is its transparency, but glass can be modified to be translucent or opaque, thus allowing a range in the amount and quality of light that passes from the exterior to the interior of a building or between interior spaces. Glass also allows a range of visual access between interior spaces or between the exterior and interior of a building. (sustainable properties are denoted with green color)
Heat and cold can easily pass through glass. A building designer must carefully determine the placement and size of windows in order to balance the need to conserve energy with the need for daylight as well as the need to balance the desire for views with the desire for privacy. The size, location, and placement of glazed openings must be carefully designed to avoid the impact of unwanted brightness or glare. Glass will reflect sound, and glass walls can limit the sound transmission from room to room.
Glass is hard but brittle. It is easily fractured on impact or by a sudden change in temperature and may shatter or break into shards.
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Glass transmits heat and cold easily. It may be considered to have high thermal conductivity because of the ease of heat transfer. However, because it is transparent, glass can also absorb and radiate heat.
Glass is chemically stable. It is only slightly affected by ordinary solvents, but can be etched by hydrofluoric acid.
Glass transmits light. Because glass is technically a liquid in a semi-solid state, it is transparent.
Heat can melt glass and return it to its molten state.