I heard that vessels made of thin glass are more heat resistant (less likely to crack) than those made of thick glass. Is that true, if so, and why?

On one hand, heat propagates more quickly through a thin layer, which means less strain, on the other hand a thick vessel can endure more strain.

  • $\begingroup$ I think it has more to do with the following: if you have a tougher glass, you can make the walls thinner and still have it stand normal usage. $\endgroup$ – Jon Custer Apr 4 '15 at 13:15
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    $\begingroup$ A thick vessel may not be able to handle the strain due to the temperature difference from one side to the other. When the delta is too great, the thermal expansion difference causes cracking, known as "exfoliation." You can see this in ice cubes dropped into warm water. $\endgroup$ – Carl Witthoft Apr 4 '15 at 13:37

I think you're talking about double paned glass, where 1/4 inch of air between the 2 panes of glass is more insulating than 1/2 inch of air. The reason for this is because 1/2 inch of air can circulate and it's more efficient at transferring heat, but 1/4 inch doesn't circulate, so the heat transfer is slower.

There's no reason why thin glass would be more heat resistant than thick glass, but tiny pockets of air can be quite insulating. That's the principal behind down coats and much insulation.

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    $\begingroup$ I don't think that's what he's after. see my comment. $\endgroup$ – Carl Witthoft Apr 4 '15 at 13:36

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