|Cerium Oxide powder is made from the two minerals bastanite and monazite. Bastanite is a complex fluorocarbon, and monazite is a phosphate.|
The Vision Glass Detailer (Written by Henry Grover Jr) - Removing Light Scratches and Blemishes with Pure Cerium Oxide Compound: Since the early fifties Cerium Oxide powders have been used in the glass industry for removing slight scratches and other blemishes from vehicular and architectural glass. If you venture into the glass caves of most any shop these days you will find a small bottle of cerium powder on the back shelf. Along with a circular sponge pad about an inch thick which is used on a rotary drill motor. The cerium is usually mixed with a little water, applied to the glass, and then worked for several minutes with the drill. This is actually somewhat effective at removing scratches that are barely visible but cannot be felt with a fingernail. If the process takes too long it is not continued and is given up. Simply because it is not considered cost effective.
What I want to accomplish by means of this article is to show that there are more efficient ways to remove light scratches and blemishes from glass. That means in other words that we can do the same thing or better in less time. Lets look first at the polishing pad itself. I use a ring shaped pad made of hard felt. Not a light weight foam. The felt fibers have microscopic hooks that catch the polishing particles and help to drive them into the glass surface. Felt is also much more efficient at holding onto said particles so they can be used over a greater time. An optimum sized felt ring used for removing light scratches should have an outside diameter of three inches, and an inside diameter of one and a half inches. It should also have a crack and peal backing so it can be quickly applied to a thin aluminum or wooden disk. The disk has a small universal joint centered between itself and the shaft of the drill motor. This makes it possible to operate the drill at speeds in excess of 1200 rpms without the problem of “bobbing”. Which allows for perfect contact at all times.
The hard felt will more effectively drive the cerium particles into the glass surface. And since cerium is chemically reactive with glass, the higher temperatures that this more advanced process creates will accelerate that reaction. You will notice by feeling the new dry surface with a dry fingertip, that it is much more rough than the original window glass. This proves that the polish is cutting into the glass.
The compound that I use comes in a four ounce container ready to use. It is a wet water based compound that can be easily transferred to an oral syringe. To remove light scratches you must first clean the glass well. Then you can use the compound straight or along with some water. You might apply some clean soapy water to the glass. Then put several drops of compound directly onto the hard felt ring. Next put the polishing ring against the glass and start polishing. To check the surface just clean the cerium and inspect. If you need to continue just apply more water and resume. If you want you can polish with the compound alone. Although using soapy water will stretch out the compound much further.
The compound I have chosen is based on an ultra pure powder designed specifically for one step glass polishing. It has a high purity rating with just the right shaped particles. Which have the tendency of rubbing the glass more then cutting it as diamond does. Cerium will always create a much smoother surface. When the powder is suspended in an eco-friendly water based medium it will actually improve over time, and be much easier to use. I hope you like it. The cost is $7.95 for a four ounce wide mouth container. Which comes with an oral syringe. Also there is a four dollar shipping and handling charge. So $11.95 total. Polishing disks and felt rings are custom built.
Henry Grover Jr is currently involved in R&D writing. He writes a column for the Window Cleaning Business Owner magazine called SURFACES, and manages a sub-forum for the Window Cleaning Resource with the same title SURFACES. He is also working in developing what he calls custom products for both the Window Cleaning Industry and others involved in the maintenance, restoration, and preservation of window glass. He has given seminars in the past on glass stain removal/identification techniques, wrote tech articles for the American Window Cleaner Magazine, traveled for consulting work on several famous buildings, and worked in the capacity of a consultant for many window cleaning companies in different parts of the US.
Go to www.glass-smart.blogspot.com to read more.