What is safety glass?
From car windows to smartphone screen protectors, glass plays a huge part in our everyday lives. Transparent, sterile, paintable, and able to transmit, reflect, and refract light, glass is an ideal material for many applications and industries.
However, it is also brittle, breaking into sharp, irregular shards that can cause injuries. Hazard-prevention treatments such as thermal tempering help reduce the risk of injury while providing strength and durability in extreme environments.
Swift Glass uses a rigorous thermal glass tempering process to create safety glass. As the name implies, safety glass is a safer substitute for standard monolithic glass. It’s less likely to break, and, if broken, is less likely to cause harm.
Thermally Tempered Glass
Thermally tempered glass can withstand four to five times the amount of force that normal glass can.
This additional strength is achieved by subjecting glass to intense heat, bringing it near its softening point, and then quickly cooling it. Any additional fabrication processes must be performed prior to this heat treating.
Unlike normal glass, which shatters into jagged, irregular pieces when broken, thermally tempered glass shatters into small, round granules that are significantly less hazardous to bystanders. This unique breakage pattern is the result of the rapid cooling process, which causes the outside surfaces of the glass to become compressed while the inside is in tension.
Thermally tempered glass is a popular choice for a wide variety of applications, including passenger vehicle windows, explosion- and bulletproof solutions, lighting products, industrial and residential doors, oven doors, computer monitors, and countless others.
It can withstand thermal shock up to 400° F. Non-treated glass without strengthening, on the other hand, can only resist thermal shock of 150° F to 200° F.
Watch Safety Glass Break in Slow Motion
When broken, safety glass breaks into small particles along circular edges, eliminating the risk of dangerous shards. Watch closely in the video below as the impact of the knife breaks the glass and disperses cracks throughout the entire piece.
For nearly a hundred years, the team at Swift Glass has been providing high-quality custom glass solutions to clients in various industries, from military and medical to optical and industrial. Offering a range of capabilities, including bending, chemical strengthening, and thermal tempering, we’re proud to provide project assistance start to finish — from material selection and design to fabrication.
To learn more about glass for extreme environments, download our free eBook, “Creating Glass That Withstands Extreme Environments.”