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Old 12-15-2011, 02:00 AM   #1
Calder
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Default Cracked Bottles

I have occasionally tossed out bottles for cracks in the necks. I've not purposefully looked for them but just noticed them now and again. The cracks are usually along the length of the neck, near the seam, but not as straight as the seam in the bottle. Some are very small, and others have been a couple of inches long.

Monday I bottled 7 gallons (75 bottles). This time I inspected every bottle (held it up to the light), and I found 5 that I was not happy with. Three were Sam Adams bottles, the other 2 were Sierra Nevada bottles. These were more sub-surface flaws than long cracks. Tonight I have opened 2 bottles and found 1 with what looked like a small crack (about 0.2" long in it).

I am wondering if I am fatiguing the glass (gradually degrading it with repeated filling/pressure-cycles). Anyone have experience with how glass bottles handle repeated use to the pressure we subject them to.

I have some 400 12-ozs bottles, and am a little concerned that some may be weak enough to fail. Some are not planned to be opened for at least a year, maybe longer.

Maybe I am worrying too much, and this is how they come. I am going to be checking new bottles too from now on. Am I worrying too much?

It's been 10 years since I had a bottle explode on me. Not very pleasant, glass flies and can embed itself in walls and the spilt beer makes a real mess. I really don't want another one.



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Old 12-15-2011, 03:22 AM   #2
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What type of capper are you using, bench, or clamp?

If its a clamp style, I wonder if you are accidentally applying too much pressure.



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Old 12-15-2011, 02:53 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dynachrome View Post
What type of capper are you using, bench, or clamp?

If its a clamp style, I wonder if you are accidentally applying too much pressure.
It's a red-wing capper. I don't think I am applying too much pressure, but it's a thought. I would have thought you could apply more pressure with a bench capper due to the longer lever on it. I don't have a bench capper, so really don't know.
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Old 12-15-2011, 03:25 PM   #4
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I wouldn't think it's from repeated filling and carbing. More likely from banging bottles together when cleaning or storing. I'm pretty easy with my bottles and I occasinally find a chipped rim or something. I wouldn't worry too much about it. Just toss out the bad ones when you see them and buy your favorite beer as needed to replenish.

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Old 12-16-2011, 01:42 AM   #5
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I have broken 2 bottles using a black clamp. I think I just applied too much pressure. I live in an apartment building and often scavenge bottles from the recycling. I think they simply have hit other bottles to cause the cracks which reduces the integrity of the bottles and then they break. I have bottles 15 batches so far so I think it is a small price to pay for free bottles.

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Old 12-16-2011, 01:23 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calder View Post
I have occasionally tossed out bottles for cracks in the necks. I've not purposefully looked for them but just noticed them now and again. The cracks are usually along the length of the neck, near the seam, but not as straight as the seam in the bottle. Some are very small, and others have been a couple of inches long.

Monday I bottled 7 gallons (75 bottles). This time I inspected every bottle (held it up to the light), and I found 5 that I was not happy with. Three were Sam Adams bottles, the other 2 were Sierra Nevada bottles. These were more sub-surface flaws than long cracks. ...
I've been meaning to post what may (or may not) be similar issues I've
been finding in about a quarter of my 750ml bottles recently that have
these long (up to 3 or inches) surface partial cracks.

If you can imagine the bottle glass cross section that's magnified to be a
foot thick and made of jello, the cracks are like someone took a knife with
blade tilted at an angle to make long straight cuts that are about a fraction
of an inch deep.

What I'm worried about is what causes these partial fractures and whether
they create weak points in the bottles and increasing the likelihood of
bottle explosions. Fo rnow I'm just setting them aside and hopefully get
some answers. Anyone seen these type of cracks before and have an idea
aout them?

Cheers,
Tom.



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Old 12-16-2011, 02:04 PM   #7
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I've had 2 vertical cracks in bottles before. As you said, they are near the seam, but not directly on the seam. Luckily, I caught them before bottling and tossed them.

Honestly, I'm not sure if it was from capping or if it was a commercial bottle that someone gave me.

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Old 12-16-2011, 03:32 PM   #8
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A wing capper grips the neck and lifts up, squeezing the cap and the neck together. It may be that some necks are slightly thicker and the capper is gripping too tightly.

A bench capper simply pushes down on the whole bottle, distributing the pressure evenly across the neck. I think the odds of it causing a vertical crack are much less than with a wing capper.

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Old 01-27-2012, 10:10 PM   #9
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On my first batch i broke 3 bottles at the neck in one night opening them on a wall mounted opener. I have your same capper. I believe it can crack the bottles if you apply to much pressure. I also only use a hand opener now and I check for cracks. If a bottle looks iffy in anyway I throw it out.

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Old 01-28-2012, 09:14 PM   #10
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Interesting stuff. I have been studying glass fractures for 8 years for my job (geeky I know) and will try and help.

Static Fatigue us a real phenomenon in glass breakage: it is where glass us subjected to stress (e.g. Pressure) and moisture and cracks develop slowly over time.

However, what you're describing doesn't found typical.

You say the cracks are near and roughly follow the mould seam? This can be a manufacturing fault that may survive a trip or several trips, but you're right in saying it would be a weakening feature.

Looking at your photos they didn't look like cracks, but you'll have the benefit if good light. I've rambled on so long I'm not sure what you were all asking...



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