Laminated glass is a type of safety glass. When glass is laminated, it becomes a product that is much stronger, can withstand much greater impacts, and exhibits much improved tensile capacities. To put things in perspective, laminated glass takes ten times longer to break through than standard glass. In fact, it is often true that laminated glass cannot be breached without the exertion of extreme force or the use of specially designed glass cutting tools. Laminated glass is one of the safest safety glasses out there. Even when broken, punctured, or chipped, it will not fall apart or shatter.
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Applications of Laminated Glass
The applications of laminated glass are numerous and diverse. First, it is heavily utilized in the automobile industry, where it is used to form windshields. Second, it is popular for use with security-related applications, such as the creation of windows in buildings that require extra safeguarding, like jewelry stores, airports, government offices, and banks. In the same way, laminated glass is commonly installed in rooms or cabinets with the purpose of protecting valuable or priceless items like artwork, jewels, or artifacts. Third, laminated glass can shield buildings or sections of buildings at risk for experiencing damage by natural disasters like tornadoes or earthquakes. It is also to be put to use as bulletproof glass in both cars and buildings. On top of these applications, laminated glass can provide people with protection from UV light damage as well as noise pollution. Finally, laminated glass can be found around the house in all sorts of useful products, from cutting boards to shower doors.
History of Laminated Glass
Laminated glass was invented accidentally in 1903 by a French chemist named Édouard Bénédictus. One day, when he was working in a lab, he dropped a glass flask that had become inadvertently coated in a plastic called cellulose nitrate. When he picked it up, he found that it had shattered, but it had not broken into pieces. It was that day that the concept of laminated glass was born. Six years later, Bénédictus filed a patent, and two years after that, he began selling the laminated glass under the name of Tripex. It was not until World War I, however, that this safety glass really caught on, when it was used in the eye pieces of gas masks.
Simultaneously, across the English Channel in Great Britain, a man named John Crewe Wood patented a type of laminated glass bonded with a type of turpentine and marketed for use as windshields and windscreens. In 1936, nine years after the discovery of polyvinyl butyral (PVB), laminated glass as it is known today was born in the United States; American companies found that putting a layer of PVB between two layers of regular glass created a product that did not discolor and was not easy to penetrate. Likewise, modern laminated glass is made up of a core bonding layer of PVB, or a material like it, and surrounding layers of glass.
Manufacturing Process of Laminated Glass
Glass fabricators make laminated glass using a few different processes. The first process begins when the fabricators take sheets of annealed glass and place them in layers around a flexible and thin binding layer like PVB. It continues when they seal the layers using a combination of heat and pressurized rollers. Together, this combination removes any and all air bubbles while forming the first bond. Manufacturers next immerse the glass in an oil bath. While in the oil bath, the PVB layer chemically bonds to the glass. Thus, the laminated glass is strengthened and rendered more resistant to jarring, high speed winds and rain and all the other hazards of high impact applications like windshields.
The second process by which glass manufacturers may create laminated glass is largely the same. The only difference is that, in this case, they take sheets of glass and polycarbonate and layer them around a binding layer of ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA), also known as poly (ethylene-vinyl acetate) (PEVA), or aliphatic urethane. Likewise, the third process surrounds a binding layer of EVA or cured resin with layers of annealed glass.
Safety Considerations When Cutting Laminated Glass
Note that the cutting of laminated glass can be extremely hazardous.
To safely cut laminated glass, experts recommend the use of one or more of the following tools:
- Vertically Inclined Saw Frames
- High Pressure Abrasive Waterjets
- A Hot Air Blower or Blow Lamp
- Special Purpose Laminated Cutting Boards