Glass is used in many different applications from construction, remodelling, and home decor. But when it comes to choosing the best types of glass on the market, four common types are perfect for any project. Whether you are looking for a super-strong glass that isn’t likely to break, tinted glass for privacy and aesthetics, or something else, glass is very versatile. Custom glass is the most useful for structures made to measure because it is manufactured according to the customer’s specifications. Glass is increasingly being used in buildings and homes by architects and designers for several reasons. It adds to the appearance of a building by letting light in, it creates a feeling of space, and it adds a modern flare.
Here are four common glass types and their applications:
Annealed glass is formed via the “float process,” The molten glass is allowed to cool slowly until it reaches room temperature. This type of glass is often used as a base product from which more advanced types of glass can be made. It is also known as “soft glass” and is sometimes referred to as “standard glass.” It undergoes heat treatment and cools gently to relieve any internal pressure.
Production Process – Several materials are melted together, such as silica, limestone, sodium carbonate, salt cake, and dolomite, at 2,700 °F and turned into liquid glass. After being placed on a conveyor belt, it is heated with a particular stove called a “lehr” and later cooled down.
Application/Usage is used for tablet displays, cabinet doors, and basement windows. Other applications include balcony doors, shower doors, exhibition cases, and computer towers.
The most popular type is tempered glass because of its strength and durability. It is 4 to 5 times stronger than annealed glass. This glass type creates a higher surface area and edge compression where its outer surface is twice as hard as the inner material. Its surface compression gives it increased mechanical resistance to breakage, and when it does break, it causes it to produce small square fragments of glass rather than long, dangerous shards that are far more likely to cause injuries.
Production Process – Also known as “toughened glass,” it is made from annealed glass via a thermal treatment heating process. An annealed glass sheet is heated to 1,200 ℉ and is force cooled quickly to enable its tempering effect.
Application/Usage – It’s commonly in balcony doors, windows, facades, shower doors, bathroom doors, and fences.
Laminated glass is very sought after because it can hold itself together when broken. This glass type offers many advantages, such as security and safety, because laminated glass consists of two layers “laminated” into an interlayer. Therefore, rather than shattering on impact, it can show cracks on the surface, but it is held together by the interlayer. It can also be customisable; a decorative film, coating, or fabric textile can be placed between the glass for aesthetics.
Production Process is manufactured by placing a polyvinyl butyral (PVP) layer between two glass sheets. The glass and PVP material are closed by continuous pressure cylinders and then heated.
Application/Usage – Used for residential and commercial glazing, skylight, glass roofs/decks, and aquariums. It is also desired in high-security areas such as banks, drive-thru windows, gas stations, jewellery stores, embassies, and high-end computers.
Heat-strengthened glass is very polish-friendly and is designed for heat stress and high air load areas. From a technical standpoint, this glass type is practically semi-tempered glass. The heat strengthening process it goes through provides it with its heat-resistant quality. It is about twice as strong as annealed glass when manufactured within the exact dimensions.
Production Process – The glass is heated to 1,100 to 1,500℉ and then cooled quickly. This quick process gives more strength to the compression and pressure in the glass.
Application/Usage – Used in high air load areas but cannot be used in any protective polishing application because its breakage pattern is similar to that of annealed glass. (This glass is not often used in fences or similar structural applications because of its limited strength compared to tempered glass).