Glass can be used for many different purposes. It can be used for windows, shower screens, glass balustrades, windshields, display cabinets and much more. Through heat and chemical treatments, manufacturers are able to create various types of glass with different properties. These properties might be fire resistance, toughness or sound insulation.
One of these processes is called tempering, a controlled thermal treatment that creates toughened glass. Toughened glass, also known as tempered glass, is often used for its safety features and strength.
If you think your business or home needs added safety, consider using tempered glass. To help you make a decision, we will discuss everything you need to know about toughened glass. We will discuss how it’s made, it’s properties and it’s common uses.
How is it made?
Toughened glass can be made from annealed glass. Before the tempering process, it’s important for the glass to be cut to the right size. If the cutting is done after the thermal treatment, it can create areas of weaknesses in the final product. In some cases, it can even damage the material.
Next, the glass is sanded with abrasive tools. This removes any imperfections and rounds off unwanted sharp edges. After that’s done, the piece is washed to remove the dust.
The glass is then placed on a roller table and fed into a tempering oven. The heat in the oven usually sits around 620°C, which is above the transition temperature for glass. After it’s heated, the piece is then quenched (rapidly cooled).
Quenching cools the outer surfaces quickly, making it contract and compress. The centre, however, sustains the heat for a longer period of time. As it gradually cools, it will start to pull on the compressed surface, creating tensile stress. The tension in the centre and the compression on the outer layers gives tempered glass its trademark toughness.
There are other tempering methods that involve the use of chemicals. Toughening through ion exchange usually results in stronger products. However, since the process is complex, it is considerably more expensive.
Properties of Toughened Glass
Tempered glass is four-times stronger than annealed glass. Toughened glass has a tensile strength of 69 MPa (10,000 pounds per square inch). In comparison, the surface compression of standard glass is only 6.9 MPa.
The high impact resistance of toughened glass can improve the security of your home/business. It can mitigate weather damage, discourage trespassing and reduce the chances of scratches appearing on the surface. It even has considerable heat resistance. Due to its safety features, many building codes require the use of tempered glass in construction projects.
Because tempered glass features internal stresses, large cracks are unable to propagate and expand across the material. As a result, when toughened glass shatters, it breaks into small granular pieces. Annealed glass, in comparison, usually breaks into large, sharp fragments. Such pieces can cause serious injuries to anyone nearby.
- Car windows
Because of its high impact resistance, toughened glass is perfect for vehicle windows. Though your windshield might crack upon impact, it will not shatter easily.
Even if the windows break in a major accident, the rounded fragments won’t cause any further injuries to the driver and the passengers.
- Residential properties
Tempered glass also has plenty of uses in residential properties. Due to its heat resistance, toughened glass is often used as table tops, coffee tables and kitchen countertops. It’s strength and impact resistance also makes it the ideal material for shower doors, furniture, shelves, windows and doors. If you have children or pets, tempered glass will keep them safe even if material shatters.
It’s use isn’t just limited to indoor use. Tempered glass is also used in balconies, sliding doors and swimming pools,
- Retail Stores
In retail stores, security is of the utmost importance. You want to show off the goods, but you also need to make sure that they’re safe and won’t get stolen.
With tempered glass, retail stores will be able to display their products without having to worry about break-ins. Due to the toughness of tempered glass, it is much harder to break than regular glass.
Tempered glass can also be used as glass balustrades. This will keep customers safe, while allowing them to see the other floors and sections of the building.
That was just a brief overview of toughened glass. It is a versatile material that offers toughness and a host of safety features. If you’re designing a home, or if you have an upcoming construction project, contact a glass supplier and see if tempered glass is right for you.