Advantages of Tempered Glass

by Steve Smith

Tempered glass is a special kind of glass that is made to resist shattering into jagged shards. The glass has many safety features that make it suitable for all kinds of applications. It is commonly used in cars and in public buildings like bus terminals, phone booths and any other place at risk for vandalism or accidental breakage. The tempered glass is made by several different processes, some involving chemicals, some involving temperature changes. Each one causes chemical changes to the glass that make it less brittle and cause it to crumble rather than splinter when force is applied.

Safety

Safety is the main advantage of tempered glass. Using tempered glass reduces the risk of injury caused by jagged glass shards. A glass that does not shatter into razor-sharp slivers can be used in places where breakage is inevitable. Tempered glass breaks into small, circular "pebbles" because of the way the molecules bond. It will also shatter evenly and crumble into small pieces even if force is applied at one end. That means larger shards of broken glass will not crack off and fly through the air when the glass is broken. This makes it much more desirable for use in cars and trucks.

Clean-up

Tempered glass is easier to clean up. Since it crumbles into small pieces, there are fewer sharp shards and splinters that are difficult to pick up with a broom. Tempered glass can be swept up much like small rocks with a push broom, and thrown away in a dumpster without fear of the glass slitting open the trash bags or injuring a waste management worker. In addition, if any glass is left behind, there is less of a chance that it will injure someone. The glass "pebbles" can also be vacuumed.

Strength

Tempered glass is much stronger than regular glass. The process used to make it causes a stronger bond between the molecules in the glass. This means the glass can be used in applications that require a stronger surface that is see-through, like windshields in cars and trains, windows in laboratories and glass walkways.

Heat Resistance

Tempered glass is also more heat resistant than normal glass. This is another effect of the process to "cure" the glass. Since heat is applied during the process, the molecules become more resistant to higher temperatures. The glass will not melt or weaken even when flame is applied directly. This makes it ideal for laboratory uses, fire engines and buildings that must be built to strict fire codes.

Other Considerations

Tempered glass also has many intangible advantages. Since it reduces the risk of injury, it also reduces the risk of lawsuits. It is ideal for public buildings and private companies that have lots of visitors and could be held liable for damages if a glass pane breaks in their building and someone is injured. That is also true for industrial companies where workers depend on safety glass to protect them from heat and flying objects on the job. It is used in hockey rinks to protect fans from flying pucks, and it can withstand a direct hit from a 100mph slap shot. It won't crack and injure fans or players that are checked into the boards, even when it breaks.

About the Author

Steve Smith has published articles on a wide range of topics including cars, travel, lifestyle, business, golf, weddings and careers. His articles, features and news stories have appeared in newspapers, consumer magazines and on various websites. Smith holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from University of New Hampshire Durham.