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Who Invented Safety Glass?

emergency safety glass repairMost glaziers and glass repair experts will tell you just how fantastic glass can be to work with, especially when used for windows in and around the modern-day home. Most people don’t know this, but glass has been dated back to 4000 BC, roughly 5500 years ago, where our ancient ancestors would have learnt to create the material by super-heating sand and allowing it to cool and solidify.

But if there was one thing that could be said about glass it’s that it can be ridiculously fragile. One wrong move or an ounce too much pressure and the entire panel can collapse, shattering into a thousand pieces and potentially causing damage and injury in the process. For thousands of years mankind had to accept these failings.

For all of its functionality, it was also an incredibly difficult material to work with. That was until a French scientist, known as Edouard Benedictus, decided to evaluate the complex atomic structure of the material. It was during his studies that he discovered that when properly tempered, the structure of glass could shift.

What does this shift involve?

Typically, glass consists of an atomic structure that is held together by a very lightweight composition – not unlike honeycomb. This structure can take small amounts of pressure before cracking and splitting. Edouard Benedictus began early tests on the structure by reintroducing heat to the glass and discovered that once a core temperature was reached, the structure would mutate.

And it’s this mutation that led to the invention of safety glass. This type of glass can be found in windows, in shower doors and even certain types of computer screen. Unlike regular glass that can be prone to shattering if it’s exposed to too much pressure, safety glass is able to retain its structure and as a result is often referred to as shatterproof glass.

How shatterproof is this glass?

Some types are deemed resistant, whilst others are termed shatterproof entirely. Resistant panels can bear more pressure before breaking, whereas any glass that is considered proof will simply bend or split without breaking into pieces and going everywhere. The tempering process is actually the same with metal – with an initial heat treatment being applied to strengthen the atoms, followed by tempering to provide additional flexibility.

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