Safety glass: what it is and where it is used
There are different types of safety glass, according to the applications, to ensure the safety of people and things
What is safety glass?
The so-called safety glass is glass that must guarantee the safety of people and things close to it.
There are various regulations that identify and describe safety glass panels: In Italy the most important is UNI 7697 which regulates the minimum safety criteria for glass applications based on different factors such as location, use, size and stress expected.
It is therefore important to emphasize that, according to the applications, the types of glass suitable to guarantee safety change.
Thermal tempered glass
Thermal tempered glass is a glass that undergoes heat treatment consisting of a heating phase and a very rapid cooling phase. This makes it many times more elastic and durable than traditional glass.
Tempered glass resists shocks very well and in addition, in case of breakage it pulverizes into small, non-sharp and not dangerous fragments. The UNI 12150 determines, among many factors, how many and how small these fragments must be in order not to be dangerous.
Laminated, or layered glass is a glass that combines two or more glass layers via a plastic film, such as PVB or Polyvinylbutyral, which acts as a glue. The plastic film keeps the fragments attached in case of breakage and thus eliminates the risk of injury to people and damage to objects.
Depending on the safety levels you want to obtain, you can evaluate different thicknesses and number of overlapping layers of glass. The more thicknesses and layers increase, the more resistance increases, up to bullet- proof glass.
Where and when to use safety glass?
The safety glass has wide use in all sectors: architecture, interior, marine, transport. Choosing the correct safety glass depends on the applications.
Trasport offers an emblematic example.
Cars windshields has been made for several years of layered glass because, if something, such as a stone, hit them and break from the outside, the innerest layers keep them intact. Car lateral windows, on the other hand, are made of tempered glass so that they can be broken from the outside in case of need. The same applies to the emergency windows of public transport, made in such a way as to be broken with the appropriate gavel and create a way out in case of accident.
Tempered glass and laminated glass are not mutually exclusive but can also combine together to create the best performing products possible.
An example is parapets. In fact, the standard foresees that parapets fixed with lower profiles or studs use laminated glass in which at least one layer is tempered. In this way, resistance is guaranteed in case of collision and, even in case of accidental breakage of a layer, there is always at least another one creating a safe barrier between the person and the vacuum. In the picture below, a recent project of Veneto Vetro for a private residence.
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