Glass, Glass, and More Glass

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Glass, Glass, and More Glass

Look around you. How many objects can you count that are made from glass? Chances are, if you walked into another room or stepped outside, you would see even more glass items! From jewelry to glass walls, humans have come up with a wide range of uses for this material. One of its advantages is that it can easily be modified for different uses. Clear glass is perfect for windows, whereas blue glass makes amazing bottles. You can even find frosty glass that creates a sense of privacy when used to make a bathroom window or shower door. Keep reading here, and your appreciation for glass will grow.

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The Four Most Common Treatments for Commercial Glass

If you're not familiar with the world of glass production, it's easy to assume that it's all the same—but you'd be mistaken. The glass in your windshield is massively different than the glass in your commercial doors. That's because glass is subjected to several different treatment processes that can change the very nature of the glass. If you want to upgrade the glass you use for your business, here are four of the most common glass treatment processes and their most common uses.

1. Annealed

Annealed glass is the type of glass you see in glass tabletops, pictures frames, or in mirrors and cabinet doors. All commercial glass is created using a float process that was invented in the 1950s. In this process, glass material floats over a bed of molten metal and is heated to a temperature of about 1500 °C (2732 °F), and that helps give the glass its uniform thickness and texture. This is the first stage of the process. Annealed glass is created using this process but this is where the process stops. It doesn't undergo any further treatment. This means that when annealed glass breaks, it often shatters into jagged, sharp pieces and that can be dangerous in some commercial applications where large sheets are required.

2. Heat-Strengthened

To create a stronger type of glass than the typical annealing process can provide, some sheets of glass will undergo a further treatment process in which annealed glass is reheated and then cooled again. During this process, the glass undergoes a molecular change that strengthens the glass to twice the strength of regular annealed glass. Though the break pattern remains the same as annealed, it won't break as easily and will remain in place should it crack.

3. Tempered Glass

If additional strength and safety are required, the sheets will undergo a further chemical and thermal treatment process called tempering. Tempered glass is the type of glass used in commercial applications like storefronts and display cases and also for residential applications like shower doors or entry doors. Tempered glass provides four times the strength of annealed glass and breaks into small pieces rather than dangerous shards so it's sometimes referred to as "safety" glass.

4. Laminated Glass

Another common glass treatment process is lamination. This process involves bonding two sheets of annealed, heat-strengthened, or tempered glass together using an interlayer of material like typically polyvinyl butyral (PVB) or ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA). The interlayer keeps the layers bonded to prevent the glass from dispersing when shattered. This is the glass used in the windshield of your vehicle. It's also used in storefronts or windows where there is a high risk of human contact.

Learn more about these options by contacting commercial glass contractors.