IELTS Academic Reading Sample 83 - Flawed Beauty: the problem with toughened glass
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Flawed Beauty: the problem with toughened glass
On 2nd August 199.9, a particularly hot day in the town of Cirencester in the UK, a large pane of toughened glass in the roof of a shopping centre at Bishops Walk shattered without warning and fell from its frame. When fragments were analysed by experts at the giant glass manufacturer Pilkington, which had made the pane, they found that minute crystals of nickel sulphide trapped inside the glass had almost certainly caused the failure.
These crystals can exist in two forms: a dense form called the alpha phase, which is stable at high temperatures, and a less dense form called the beta phase, which is stable at room temperatures. The high temperatures used in the toughening process convert all the crystals to the dense, compact alpha form. But the subsequent cooling is so rapid that the crystals don't have time to change back to the beta phase. This leaves unstable alpha crystals in the glass, primed like a coiled spring, ready to revert to the beta phase without warning.
Look at the following people and the list of statements below.
Match each person with the correct statement.
Write the correct letter A-H in boxes 14-17 on your answer sheet.
14 Brian Waldron
15 Trevor Ford
16 Graham Dodd
17 John Barry
List of Statements
A suggests that publicity about nickel sulphide failure has been suppressed
B regularly sees cases of nickel sulphide failure
C closely examined all the glass in one building
D was involved with the construction of Bishops Walk
E recommended the rebuilding of Waterfront Place
F thinks the benefits of toughened glass are exaggerated
G claims that nickel sulphide failure is very unusual
H refers to the most extreme case of delayed failure
Complete the summary with the list of words A-P below.
Write your answers in boxes 18-23 on your answer sheet.
Toughened glass is favoured by architects because it is much stronger than ordinary glass, and the fragments are not as 18 .................... when it breaks. However, it has one disadvantage: it can shatter 19 ........................ This fault is a result of the manufacturing process. Ordinary glass is first heated, then cooled very 20 ....................... .
The outer layer 21 ....................... before the inner layer, and the tension between the two layers which is created because of this makes the glass stronger. However, if the glass contains nickel sulphide impurities, crystals of nickel sulphide are formed. These are unstable, and can expand suddenly, particularly if the weather is 22 .................. ...... If this happens, the pane of glass may break. The frequency with which such problems occur is 23 ....................... by glass experts. Furthermore, the crystals cannot be detected without sophisticated equipment.
A numerous B detected C quickly D agreed
E warm F sharp G expands H slowly
I unexpectedly J removed K contracts L disputed
M cold N moved O small P calculated
Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 83?
In boxes 24-26 on your answer sheet, write
TRUE if the statement agrees with the information
FALSE if the statement contradicts the information
NOT GIVEN if there is no information on this
24 Little doubt was expressed about the reason for the Bishops Walk accident.
25 Toughened glass has the same appearance as ordinary glass.
26 There is plenty of documented evidence available about the incidence of nickel sulphide failure.
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