|There are a variety of architectural glass grades; each serving a specific purpose. In buildings, glass is typically used for safety to segregate the occupants from exposure to environmental elements. Therefore, most glass used in buildings is reinforced and laminated. In modern architecture, it is as important to aesthetics as it is to safety. Therefore, architects must select the exact type to fit the customer's requirement.|
Grades of Architectural Glass
There are a large number of types of glass used in the construction of structures. The most common include:
Float Glass: Most of the world's flat glass is manufactured through the float process which involves the pouring of molten glass into a tin bath. Then, the glass floats and spreads out across the bath delivering a smooth material. As it cools, it solidifies and leaves the bath in a continuous ribbon. This process provides perfectly parallel surfaces required in buildings.
Laminated Glass: Another popular glass choice for buildings is laminated glass which is produced through the bonding of at least two layers with Polyvinyl Butyral (PVB) under heat and pressure which results in a single sheet. The PVB provides extra support which prevents it from shattering and causing bodily harm. This type is used in instances where security is a major concern.
Toughened Glass: Similarly, toughened glass shatters in small square pieces providing protection. This grade is used for projects that require strength, thermal resistance and safety. This type of glass is typically used in frameless doors, door lights and vision lights.
Insulated Glazing: Used on windows that require thermal insulation and noise reduction, insulated glazing is a window featuring two or more layers separated by a spacer. This creates dead space between the layers which is often filled with inert gas during energy conservation programs.
Innovative Grades of Architectural Glass
There are major advances in architectural glass grades recently introduced. These include:
Evacuated Glazing: This grade is produced to be extremely-thin but continues to provide the support and strength of those with insulated glazing. The primary use of this type will be for building conservation which requires energy-efficiency.
Self-Cleaning: Another manufacturing advancement is self-cleaning glass, which is used mainly for building and technical applications. A coating of titanium dioxide creates a photo-catalytic effect which results in UV rays breaking-down organic compounds on the glass surface. Thus, this glass requires far less cleaning over time. As such, it is gaining traction in the architectural circles.
Architectural glass manufacturers must work closely with architects and designers to extend the boundaries of design and create new opportunities for building culture - in terms of design and space, indoors and outdoors, for solar power and fire protection, aesthetics and functionality - sustainable and custom-tailored.