Fibrous form of glass, developed in the 1930s. Liquid glass issues in fine streams through hundreds of fine nozzles, and the solidifying streams are gathered into a single strand and wound onto a spool. Strands can be twisted into yarns, woven into fabrics, or chopped into short pieces and then bonded into mats. Glass filaments and yarns add strength and electrical resistivity to molded plastic products. Glass fabrics are used as electrical insulators and as reinforcing belts in automobile tires. Discontinuous fibres are formed into wools, mats, or boards, commonly used in buildings, appliances, and plumbing.
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Thin transparent fibres of glass or plastic that transmit light through their length by internal reflections, used for transmitting data, voice, and images. Fibre-optic technology has virtually replaced copper wire in long-distance telephone lines and is used to link computers in local area networks, with digitized light pulses replacing the electric current formerly used for the signal. Telecommunication using fibre optics is usually conducted with infrared light. Fibre optics uses light in the visible wavelengths to transmit images directly, in various technical devices such as those developed for endoscopy.
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