IELTS Academic Reading: Cambridge 8, Test 2: Reading Passage 1; Sheet glass manufacture: the float process; with best solutions and step-by step detailed explanations

This IELTS Reading post focuses on all the solutions for IELTS Cambridge 8 Test 2 Reading Passage 1 which is entitled ‘Sheet glass manufacture: the float process’. This is an aimed post for IELTS candidates who have great problems in finding answers for the Academic Reading module. This post can guide you the best to comprehend each Reading answer without facing much difficulty. Tracing IELTS Reading answers is a gradual process and I sincerely hope this post can help you in your IELTS Reading preparation.

IELTS Cambridge 8 Test 2: AC Reading Module

Reading Passage 1:

The headline of the passage: Sheet glass manufacture: the float process

Questions 1-5: (Table completion):

[In this type of question, candidates are asked to complete different gaps in a table with NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from the passage. Keywords are important to find answers correctly. Generally, this type of question maintains a sequence. However, we should not be surprised if the sequence is not maintained. Find the keywords in the passage and you are most likely to find the answers.]

Here is the table with the title: Early methods of producing flat glass

IELTS Academic Reading: Cambridge 8, Test 2: Reading Passage 1; Sheet glass manufacture: the float process; with best solutions and step-by step detailed explanations

Question 1 & 2:

Method: 1. _________

Advantages:

  • Glass remained 2. __________

Keywords for the question: method, advantages, remained,

Tips: To answer this question, we need to have a look at the whole table first and apply a trick.

As you can see from the given picture, there are two early methods of producing float glass in this table. One is ‘Ribbon’ and we have to find the other one. You should probably know by now that most of the IELTS Reading question types follow a sequence; so we can figure out easily that the description of ‘Ribbon method’ is given in the text/passage right after the description of the method’s name we are looking for. Now, the mention of the ‘Ribbon method’ is found in the very beginning of Paragraph no. 2. So, we can safely assume that we’ll find the answer for question no. 1, 2 and 3 in paragraph no. 1.

Let’s have a look. Remember the word ‘early’ in the table? This word suggests that the methods were the first methods of producing clear flat glass. Take a look at lines 3-6 of paragraph no. 1, “. . . .The first successful method for making clear, flat glass involved spinning. This method was very effective as the glass had not touched any surfaces between being soft and becoming hard, so it stayed perfectly unblemished, with a ‘fire finish’.”

Here, The first successful method indicates that the name of the first method is spinning.

Also, stayed = remained.

So, the answers are:

  1. spinning
  2. (perfectly) unblemished


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Question 3:
Disadvantages:

  • Slow
  • ____________

Keywords for the question: disadvantages, slow,

Take a look at line no. 6 of paragraph no. 1. “However, the process took a long time, and was labour intensive.”

So, here we find the disadvantages/ pitfalls/ problems related to this ‘spinning’ process. The first problem was that the process was slow (took a long time). The second problem was that it was labour intensive.

So, the answer is: labour intensive

Question 4:  

Advantages:

  • Could produce glass sheets of varying ___________
  • Non-stop process

Keywords for the question: Ribbon, advantages, produce glass sheets, varying, non-stop process,     

The answer is found in paragraph no. 2. In lines 2-4 the writer says, “. .. .The first continuous ribbon process involved squeezing molten glass through two hot rollers, similar to an old mangle. This allowed glass of virtually any thickness to be made non-stop. . .. .”

Here, virtually any means nearly any kind of or varying

So, the answer is: thickness

Question 5: 

Disadvantages:

  • Glass was ___________
  • 20% of glass rubbed away
  • Machines were expensive

Keywords for the question: disadvantages, 20, rubbed away, machines, expensive,

Again, the answer is found in paragraph no. 2 in lines 4-6, “. .. . but the rollers would leave both sides of the glass marked, and these would then need to be ground and polished. This part of the process rubbed away around 20 percent of the glass, and the machines were very expensive”.         

So, the answer is: marked

Questions 6-8: (Labeling a diagram)

[In this type of question, candidates are asked to label a diagram with NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from the passage. Keywords are important to find answers correctly. Generally, this type of question maintains a sequence. However, we should not be surprised if the sequence is not maintained. Find the keywords in the passage and you are most likely to find the answers.]

Here is the diagram with the title: Pilkington’s float process

IELTS Academic Reading: Cambridge 8, Test 2: Reading Passage 1; Sheet glass manufacture: the float process; with best solutions and step-by step detailed explanations

To answer a diagram, we need to understand the concept of a diagram. In this diagram, we have to fill in the gaps for the model of Pilkington’s float process.

In paragraph no. 3 we find the explanation of ‘Pilkington’s float process’.

Let’s take a look:

“The float process for making flat glass was invented by Alistair Pilkington. This process allows the manufacture of clear, tinted and coated glass for buildings, and clear and tinted glass for vehicles. Pilkington had been experimenting with improving the melting process, and in 1952 he had the idea of using a bed of molten metal to form the flat glass, eliminating altogether the need for rollers within the float bath. The metal had to melt at a temperature less than the hardening point of glass (about 600°C), but could not boil at a temperature below the temperature of the molten glass (about 1500°C). The best metal for the job was tin.”

Then, in paragraph no. 4 we find further explanation of ‘Pilkington’s float process’ and we find all answers for the diagram in this paragraph. Take a close look at lines 2-6, “Consequently, when pouring molten glass onto the molten tin, the underside of the glass would also be perfectly flat. If the glass were kept hot enough, it would flow over the molten tin until the top surface was also flat, horizontal and perfectly parallel to the bottom surface. Once the glass cooled to 604°C or less it was too hard to mark and could be transported out of the cooling zone by rollers.

So, for question no. 6, the answer has to be glass/ molten glass. (The picture indicates that molten glass is poured on the float bath.)

Then, for question no. 7, the answer is molten metal/tin. (The picture indicates that molten glass is poured on the float bath which is made from some material that could not boil below 1500°C).

And, for question no. 8, the answer is rollers. (The picture indicates that two small wheels helps to transport the molten glass from the float bath’s melting zone to cooling zone).

So, the answers are:

  1. (molten) glass
  2. (molten) metal/tin
  3. rollers

Questions 9-13: TRUE, FALSE, NOT GIVEN

[In this type of question, candidates are asked to find out whether:

The statement in the question agrees with the information in the passage – TRUE

The statement in the question contradicts with the information in the passage – FALSE

If there is no information on this  – NOT GIVEN

For this type of question, you can divide each statement into three independent pieces and make your way through with the answer.]

Question 9: The metal used in the float process had to have specific properties.

Keywords for this question: metal, float process, specific properties,  

In paragraph no. 3, in lines 5-7, the author describes the Pilkington’s float process, “The metal had to melt at a temperature less than the hardening point of glass (about 600°C), but could not boil at a temperature below the temperature of the molten glass (about 1500°C). The best metal for the job was tin.”

The lines clearly indicate that float process required a specific metal which was tin.

So, the answer is: TRUE

Question 10: Pilkington invested some of his own money in his float plant.

Keywords for this question: Pilkington, invested, own money, float plant,

In paragraph no. 5, the writer only mentions, “Pilkington built a pilot plant in 1953 and by 1955 he had convinced his company to build a full-scale plant.” However, there is no indication of whether he invested some of his own money on that project.

So, the answer is: NOT GIVEN

Question 11: Pilkington’s first full-scale plant was an instant commercial success.

Keywords for this question: first full-scale plant, instant commercial success,   

In paragraph no. 5 the author says, “Pilkington built a pilot plant in 1953 and by 1955 he had convinced his company to build a full-scale plant. However, it took 14 months of non-stop production, costing the company £100,000 a month, before the plant produced any usable glass. Furthermore, once they succeeded in making marketable flat glass, the machine was turned off for a service to prepare it for years of continuous production. When it started up again it took another four months to get the process right again. They finally succeeded in 1959. …”

So, the plant was built in 1953 but it became successful in 1959, after 6 years. Therefore, it was not an instant or immediate success.

So, the answer is: FALSE

Question 12: The process invented by Pilkington has now been improved.

Keywords for this question: process, invented by Pilkington, improved,   

For this question, you need to compare the original Pilkington process which is explained in paragraph no. 3 and 4 with the modern Pilkington process which is explained in paragraph no. 6. You’ll find a number of improvements in the modern Pilkington process including refining, homogenizing, continuous melting process etc.

So, the answer is: TRUE

Question 13: Computers are better than humans at detecting faults in glass.

Keywords for this question: Computers, better, humans, detecting, faults in glass,    

The last few lines of paragraph no. 7 gives us the answer, “Inspection technology allows more than 100 million measurements a second to be made across the ribbon, locating flaws the unaided eye would be unable to see. Secondly, it enables computers downstream to steer cutters around flaws.”

This means computers can detect such faults in glass that naked eyes of human cannot detect.

So, the answer is: TRUE

Click here for solutions to Cambridge 8 Test 2 Reading Passage 2

Click here for solutions to Cambridge 8 Test 2 Reading Passage 3

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