Yes, magnetite can scratch glass.
In the article that follows, you’ll learn more about glass and magnetite, as well as why one can scratch the other.
Can Magnetite Scratch Glass? (Let’s Learn More)
Beware of using magnetite around glass because it will easily scratch it.
Not only is magnetite harder than glass, but it has a very metallic appearance and does not have any cleavage.
What are the other essential points to know about magnetite and glass, why magnetite scratches glass, and what makes magnetite rather unusual among common minerals?
Here are key facts to keep in mind about glass and magnetite.
What are the chief characteristics of ordinary glass?
Ordinary glass, the manufactured kind, is not a naturally occurring substance.
Instead, it’s a combination of three other substances that are brought to very high temperatures until they turn into a liquid, combine and form into what we know as glass upon cooling off completely.
The three components of everyday glass are lime, soda ash, and sand.
It’s possible to create colored glass by adding various minerals and other substances to the main components when they’re heated.
However, there are a few ways that glass is formed in nature, without the deliberate mixing and heating of ash, lime, and sand.
For example, when lightning strikes in the middle of a desert, the intense heat melts the sand and creates a natural glass.
Scientists call glass an amorphous solid because the substance is neither gas, liquid, or gas.
Instead, the molecules within glass don’t ever stop moving, even though the outer sheath is solid and gives the impression that glass itself is a sold, even though it is not.
Another kind of natural glass is called obsidian, which results when volcanic lava comes into contact with cool temperatures and begins to solidify very rapidly.
Obsidian glass has been used for thousands of years as tools and weapons due to its sharp edges and natural strength.
It’s important to keep in mind that perhaps 99 percent of all the glass used in construction and everyday life is not natural but composed of soda ash, sand, and lime.
What characteristics make magnetite unique?
In addition to being harder than glass, and thus having the ability to scratch a pane or other kind of glass surface, magnetite possesses an interesting luster that is obviously metallic in its general appearance.
Because the mineral lacks cleavage, it has no smooth surfaces.
What’s more, it’s naturally black hue is indicative of the fact that a piece of magnetite will leave a black streak when rubbed against most light-colored surfaces.
Unlike most other common minerals, magnetite is naturally attracted to an ordinary magnet.
In fact, this property not only gave the substance its popular name but is one of the surest ways to distinguish it from similar looking minerals.
Be careful not to confuse magnetite with bornite.
The two look very much alike, but bornite always displays a purple hue, while magnetite is unmistakably black.
Why can magnetite scratch glass?
Another way to distinguish magnetite from bornite, aside from the color, is that bornite will not scratch glass but magnetite will.
This is simply because magnetite is denser than glass and has a hardness greater than that of almost all glass, meaning magnetite’s rating on the Mohs scale of hardness is higher than 5.5, which is the rating of glass.
Other essential facts about glass and magnetite
When it comes to recycling, glass offers unmatched benefits compared to many other man made substances.
That’s primary because glass keeps its purity and its quality even after being recycled.
Even better, once glass is manufactured, it can last for an extremely long time, up to one-million years in fact, without decomposing.
Magnetite, chemically represented as Fe3O4, is an oxide that has a specific gravity of 5.2, an opaque transparency, and is sometimes called “lodestone” when it has a high degree of natural magnetism.
Used in the manufacturing of both ammonia and steel, magnetite has dozens of commercial applications.
Considered an iron ore, magnetite is but one of many iron oxides.
Not all magnetite is naturally magnetic, but all of it does have the ability to become that way if exposed to other magnets.
In some places within the earth’s crust, it is naturally exposed to other magnetic substances.
When extracted magnetite is already magnetic, it’s called lodestone.
Likewise, a person can place a common, non-magnetic piece of magnetite near a magnet and convey magnetism to it.
Even though glass is composed primarily of sand, not all kinds of sand are candidates for making glass.
In the common manufacturing process, only silica sand is used.
When combined with soda ash and lime, the mixture must be heated to super-high temperatures to fuse together and create glass.
Special heating units are employed to reach the necessary temperatures, namely 3092 F, or 1700 C.
The process of making glass, while it calls for extreme temperatures, is not new.
Experts believe that even the ancient Mesopotamians were able to manufacture glass for decorative and building purposes as long ago as 3600 B.C.
Modern methods exist that make glass much stronger.
For instance, it’s possible to make ordinary glass about four times as strong as normal just by using special thermal and chemical processes during the manufacturing phase.
For hundreds of years, some people have used magnetite in spiritual rituals for the purpose of eliminating negative emotions and helping achieve deeper states of meditation.
There’s no proof of either claim, but millions of people collect magnetite for those purposes.
When it comes to mineral substances, glass and magnetite couldn’t be more different.
However, each has its own set of interesting properties, strengths, and weaknesses, as well as important uses in industry and decorative arts.