Toughened glass is also known as safety glass or tempered glass. It is an ordinary glass that is made to be force-resistant to withstand any force up to four times. It is not easy to break as ordinary glass. Moreover, if the toughened glass indeed breaks, it breaks into small, blunt, cube-shaped pieces without hurting anyone. In a nutshell, nobody gets hurt.
How is Toughened Glass Made?
Glass can be toughened in two ways:
Tempering glass with Heat and Cold: Toughened glass or safety glass is made by tempering. A process in which ordinary glass is heated up to a temperature of around 700°C followed by sudden cooling using jets of cold air. As a result of this process, the outside of the glass is forced into compression while the inside remains free to float for some time (creating tension inside). The higher the thermal expansion of the glass and the lower is the thermal conductivity, the higher will be the level of residue stress and as a result of this, the stronger will be the resulting glass.
Tempering Glass with Chemical Reactions: Normal glass sheet is tempered by putting it under the bath of potassium salt at 300°C. When the salt dissolves, it is indicative of its separating into ions. The potassium ions are now free to replace sodium ions on the surface of the glass. Potassium ions are 30% larger than sodium ions; the process brings the outer surface under compression while the inner surface remains the same. This creates tension inside and now the force required to break the glass has to be much greater than the compressive forces. Hence, this method aims at strengthening the glass by chemical ion exchange.
Tempering of glass has the following benefits
Toughened glass is about four times stronger than the normal float glass. The process of tempering does not affect any other property of the glass. Hence, toughened glass offers the same visibility as that of normal glass clubbed with greater strength
Toughened glass can withstand massive differences in temperature (of up to 200°C) whereas normal float glass can handle only up to 40°C
Tempering of glass renders it difficult to break and when it does due to whatsoever reasons, it will fall apart into very small, blunt, cube-like pieces that do not cause fatal injuries
Toughened glass has a very high resistance to electric and thermal shock
Its high durability makes frequent replacement redundant and the glass can easily be used for a very long time
Greater strength and safety provided, Toughened Glass is in great demand in in the construction industry and for use in homes and offices.
Application/Uses of Toughened Glass
Toughened glass is typically used in commercial applications where wind, snow, and thermal impact make the use of normal glass futile. That’s why they are also used in high-rise buildings since they can withstand strong winds and heavy load
When mixed with tinted glass, laminated glass, insulated glass, etc. toughened glass can be used in various components of a building such as an escalator side panels, handrails, observation decks, etc.
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