Since its invention in 500 B.C., glass has always engrossed humankind with its distinct properties. Back in the middle ages, people believed that glass possessed magical properties. Fast forward to the 21st century; people still believe that glass possesses magical properties given all the architectural marvels that owe their beauty to this idiosyncratic construction material.
The application of glass in the construction industry is getting more diverse with each passing year. What started as an embellishment for window panes in luxurious houses in Pompeii has now found its way into the structural aspects of modern-day buildings.
Since we mentioned the wonders of glass, it is necessary to add its distinct properties, which have made it highly sought-after.
Glass is a transparent material. However, the transparency of glass may vary. It can either be one-sided or both. If a glass is transparent only from one side, then it acts as a mirror. With the advancement of technology, it is easy to alter the transparency of the glass by using different chemical mixtures. Electro-chromatic glazing is one such example. The glass used in buildings is made opaque through this technique.
The modulus of rupture value determines the strength of the glass. Glass is brittle, but it can be strengthened with admixtures and laminates.
Glass is an easily workable material. It can be molded into any shape or blown, drawn, or pressed during the melting process. Workability is one of the most distinguishable features of glass.
Glass has a visible transmittance. Therefore, a visible fraction of light can easily pass through glass.
U value :
The amount of heat transferred through the glass is measured with U-value. A lower U-value indicates better insulation properties of the glass. Therefore, the glass, which is considered as an insulated unit, will have a lower U-value.
Glass is 100% recyclable. The broken pieces of glass are gathered and melted, resulting in raw material for manufacturing glass and aggregates for concrete.
Types of Glass
As we have discussed the properties of glass, let’s take an overview of different types of glass used in the construction industry and their distinct applications.
Float glass :
Float glass is made up of sodium silicate and calcium silicate. It is also known as soda-lime glass. Float glass is clear, flat, and causes glare. The thickness of float glass can range from 2mm to 20mm. The common application of float glass includes shop fronts and public places.
Float glass can easily be cut with a glass cutter and does not require additional equipment.
As the name suggests, shatterproof glass is resistant to shattering. As a result, it doesn’t break into sharp pieces. This type of glass is commonly used in windows, floors, and skylights. Plastic polyvinyl butyral resin is used in its manufacturing process.
Laminated glass :
Laminated glass is made up of layers of ordinary glass. Due to the added layers, it has more weight than ordinary glass. The thickness of laminated glass makes it U.V. rays resistant and soundproof. Due to its properties, laminated glass is widely used in aquariums and bridges. It is also commonly used in high-security areas. It is bullet-proof and theft-proof.
Extra clean glass:
An extra clean glass is known for its photocatalytic and hydrophilic properties. In addition, it is stain proof and has a neat appearance. This is why it is called extra clean glass. It is low-maintenance as well.
The chromatic glass prevents the transparent efficiency of glass and filters out the daylight from getting into the room. Chromatic glass is usually used in ICUs and meeting rooms. Chromatic glass can have photochromic lamination, which induces light sensitivity, or thermos-chromic lamination, which induces heat sensitivity. It can also have electric lamination, known as electrochromic lamination.
Colored glass is known as tinted glass. This is because different colored ingredients are added to normal glass during the manufacturing process. These colored ingredients provide tint to the glass but do not alter its properties.
Each ingredient provides a different tint to the glass, as mentioned below:
Toughened glass :
Toughened glass is known for its durability. It has low visibility. Toughened glass is available in varying degrees of thickness. When broken, it forms granular chunks that are dangerous. Due to its heat-resistant properties, toughened glass is used in fire-resistant doors and kitchen splashbacks.
It is also used in shower screens, railings, swimming pool fencing, and mobile screen protectors. Toughened glass is alternatively known as tempered glass. Tempered glass is harder and stronger as compared to other types of glass.
Glass blocks :
Glass blocks are also known as glass bricks. The manufacturing process of glass blocks includes pressing two different halves in one during the melting phase. This glass is widely in skylights and walls. It is highly aesthetic in appearance, especially when light passes through it.
Glass wool :
Due to its fire-resistant properties, glass wool is used as an insulating filler. It is made up of fibers of glass.
Insulated glazed units:
As the name unit suggests, an insulated glazed unit is made up of glass separated into two or three units through an air vacuum. It is a good insulator because the air vacuum does not allow heat to pass through it. Insulated glazed units are also known as double glazed or triple glazed units depending upon the number of separated units.
Annealed glass is the regular glass that is slowly cooled off to gain its composition without tempering. Due to lack of tempering, annealed glass is the most fragile type of glass. It breaks into sharp edges, which can cause injury. Due to its transparency, it is used for styling furniture. This type of glass is usually used for tabletops.
Decorative glass is used for both residential and commercial purposes. It is used for decoration, as the name suggests. The primary application of decorative glass includes shower screens and conference rooms. It is widely used in areas where privacy is concerned. The decorative glass comes in various forms. Acid-etched decorative glass is glare-free and has a frosty appearance. Acid-etching is used to make the glass translucent. It can vary in degrees depending upon the level of translucency that is required.
As the name suggests, a coated glass has a coating over it used to alter its appearance. The coating is used for various purposes. For example, the coating can make glass scratch-resistant or corrosion-resistant. In addition, coated glass is low maintenance by nature.
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