The Analysis and Properties Technical Committee of the SGT (A&P) is dedicated to the chemical analysis and determination of properties of glass and associated raw materials of practical interest to the glass industry. This is achieved through the generation of Certified Reference Materials (CRMs) and the development of methods for analysis to support best practice and quality assurance for suppliers, customers and society.
Many glassmakers operate on a global basis with quality procedures developed by a central facility and therefore laboratory equipment and analytical methods must comply with a number of national regulatory authorities. Smaller glassmakers may have to meet fewer regulations as they may not have their own analytical laboratory and must rely on others for support. Outsourcing analytical facilities can be problematic with the glassmaker needing proof that a commercial laboratory can deliver reliable analytical data. However, if a laboratory is able to demonstrate that by using an approved standard method for sampling and analysis and it can report results on a CRM within the confidence limits quoted on the certificate, competence is assured.
A frequently encountered problem for many analyses is the general absence of CRMs of direct relevance to a specific industry – the glass industry being no exception. Consequently, the SGT A&P committee is working with the Bureau of Analysed Samples Ltd (BAS) to develop a series of CRMs for use across the glass industry to assist glass analysts in their general work programme and to further support the increasing requirement placed upon laboratories to demonstrate compliance / traceability for audit and regulatory purposes. The A&P committee, working with the International Commission on Glass through their technical committee devoted to chemical durability and analysis, ICG/TC2, have assembled a group of cooperating analysts to produce CRMs.
In recent years, the A&P Technical Committee has published a series of methods for the analysis of glassmaking raw materials; sand, limestone and dolomite and soda ash. The latter paper also reviewed the soda ash CRM development and provides general guidance on the overall analytical protocol adopted.