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Tempered glass is a type of glass that is processed by treating the float glass, by applying controlled thermal and chemical treatments, so as to increase the strength. The light transmission and solar radiant properties of tempered glass are as same as float glass. Tempered glass is also called as safety glass or toughened glass.

The properties and application of tempered glass in buildings are explained in this article.

Properties of Tempered Glass

A glass is considered tempered when the compressive stresses on the surface of the glass have a value of minimum 69MPa. If this value exceeds 100Mpa, then the glass is considered safety glass. This characteristic of tempered glass makes it safe for high-pressure and explosion-proof applications. The important properties of tempered glass are:

1. Impact Resistance

The impact resistance of tempered glass is high compared to float glass. This helps to easily resist higher temperatures.

2. Versatility

Tempered or toughened glass can be made into different unique styles and creative applications for building interior design.

3. Strength

The strength of tempered glass is four to five times the strength of float glass. This, hence, can sustain high wind load or snow loads.

4. Fabrication of Tempered Glass

Cutting and resizing the tempered glass is not possible. Any fabrication required must be performed before tempering the glass panels.

5. Optical distortion of Tempered Glass

The tempered glass has a hazy and unclear vision because the tempering process causes optical distortions in tempered glass.

6. Failure of Tempered Glass

Here, the breaking pattern of the glass is considered, where it breaks into small blunt pieces. These pieces are not harmful and hence are used widely for the making of safety glass.

The outer surface of the tempered glass is subjected to compression and the inner surface is subjected to tension. This action is the reason why the tempered glass breaks into granular chunks instead of splintering as in the case of normal glass.

Manufacture of Tempered Glass

The manufacturing process of tempered glass is performed by heating a normal glass or float glass to a uniform temperature of 700-degree celsius. It is then cooled in the annealing lehr and finally, the tempered glass is produced. Hence, the process is time-consuming compared to normal glass and is therefore a costly material.

Compressive stresses are induced on the surface of the tempered glass and it is this compressive stress that provides the tempered glass increased strength.

Uses of Tempered Glass

The important uses of tempered glass in buildings are:

1. Used as Balusters, escalator, staircase, handrails, etc.

Tempered Glass Staircase
Fig.1. Tempered Glass Staircase

2. Used as a partition member for homes, airports, offices, and resorts

Tempered Glass as Partition Walls
Fig.2. Tempered Glass as Partition Walls

3. Used for sliding doors and windows.

4. It is used as a decorative panel in interior design.

5. The tempered glass can be used as a facade for buildings that add up aesthetics.

Tempered Glass as Facades
Fig.3. Tempered Glass as Facades

Also Read: Different types of Glass Used in Construction

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Neenu Arjun

Neenu Arjun

Neenu is a Civil and Structural Engineer and has experience in Design of Concrete and Steel Structures. She is an Author, Editor and Partner at

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