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There are various types of glass used in construction for different purposes. This article discusses the engineering properties and uses of these glasses.

Glass is a hard substance which may be transparent or translucent and brittle. The fusion process used to manufacture glasses. In this process, sand is fused with lime, soda, and some other admixtures and then cooled rapidly. Glasses used in construction purposes and architectural purposes in engineering.

types-of-glass-used-in-construction
Fig. 1: Use of Glass as Building Envelope

Engineering Properties of Glass

  1. Transparency
  2. Strength
  3. Workability
  4. Transmittance
  5. U value
  6. Recycling property

1. Transparency of Glass

Transparency is the main property of glass which allows the vision of the outside world through it. The transparency of glass can be from both sides or from one side only. In one side transparency, glass behaves like a mirror from the other side.

2. Strength of Glass

The strength of glass depends on the modulus of rupture value of glass. In general glass is a brittle material but by adding admixtures and laminates we can make it as more strong.

3. Workability of Glass

A glass can be molded into any shape, or it can be blown during melting. So, workability of glass is a superior property.

4. Transmittance

The visible fraction of light that passing through glass is the property of visible transmittance.

5. U value of Glass

U value represents the amount of heat transferred through glass. If a glass is said to be insulated unit then it should have lower u value.

6. Recycle Property of Glass

Any glass can be 100% recyclable. It can also be used as raw material in construction industry.

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Types of Glass and their Uses

The types of glass used in construction are:

  1. Float glass
  2. Shatterproof glass
  3. Laminated glass
  4. Extra clean glass
  5. Chromatic glass
  6. Tinted glass
  7. Toughened glass
  8. Glass blocks
  9. Glass wool
  10. Insulated glazed units

1. Float Glass

Float glass manufactured from sodium silicate and calcium silicate so, it is also called as soda-lime glass. It is clear and flat, so it causes glare. Thickness of the float glass is available from 2mm to 20mm, and its weight range from 6 to 36 kg/m2. The application of float glass includes shop fronts, public places, etc.

Float Glass
Fig. 2 Laminated Glass

2. Shatterproof Glass

Shatterproof glass is used for windows, skylights, floors, etc. Some type of plastic polyvinyl butyral is added in its making process. So, it cannot form sharp-edged pieces when it breaks.

Shatterproof Glass
Fig. 3: Shatterproof Glass

3. Laminated Glass

Laminated glass is the combination of layers of ordinary glass. So, it has more weight than a normal glass. It has more thickness and is UV proof and soundproof. These are used for aquariums, bridges, etc.

Laminated Glass
Fig. 4: Laminated Glass Used in Building Construction

4. Extra Clean Glass

Extra clean glass has two unique properties, photocatalytic and hydrophilic. Because of these properties, it acts as stain proof and gives a beautiful appearance. Maintenance is also easy.

Extra Clean Glass
Fig. 5: Extra Clean Glass

5. Chromatic Glass

Chromatic glass is used in ICU’s, meeting rooms etc. it can control the transparent efficiency of glass and protects the interior from daylight. The chromatic glass may be photochromic which has light sensitive lamination, thermos-chromatic which has heat sensitive lamination and electrochromic which has electric lamination over it.

Chromatic Glass
Fig. 6: Chromatic Glass

6. Tinted Glass

Tinted glass is nothing but colored glass. A color producing ingredients is mixed to the normal glass mix to produce colored glass which does not affect other properties of glass. Different color-producing ingredients are tabulated below:

Table 1: Different Types of Ions Used to Produce Various Colors in Glasses

Coloring ionColor
Iron oxideGreen
SulphurBlue
Manganese dioxideBlack
CobaltBlue
ChromiumDark green
TitaniumYellowish brown
UraniumYellow
Tinted Glass
Fig. 7: Tinted Glass

7. Toughened Glass

Toughened glass is a durable glass that has low visibility. It is available in all thicknesses, and when it is broken it forms small granular chunks that are dangerous. This is also called as tempered glass. This type of glass is used for fire-resistant doors, mobile screen protectors, etc.

Toughened Glass
Fig. 8: Toughened Glass

8. Glass Blocks

Glass block or glass bricks are manufactured from two different halves and they are pressed and annealed together while melting process of glass. These are used as architectural purpose in the construction of walls, skylights etc. They provide aesthetic appearance when light is passed through it.

Glass Blocks
Fig. 9: Glass Block

9. Glass Wool

Glass wool is made of fibers of glass and acts as an insulating filler. It is fire-resistant glass.

Glass Wool
Fig. 10: Glass Wool

10. Insulated Glazed Units

Insulated glazed glass units contains a glass is separated into two or three layers by air or vacuum. They cannot allow heat through it because of air between the layers and acts as good insulators. These are also called as double glazed units.

Insulated Glazed Units
Fig. 11: Insulated Glazed Glass Unit

FAQs on Types of Glasses: properties and applications

?What is a glass?

Glass is a hard substance which may be transparent or translucent and brittle. It is manufactured by the fusion process.

?What are the properties of glasses?

The fundamental properties of the glass that make it suitable for building construction applications are transparency, strength, workability, transmittance, U value, and recycling.

?What are the types of glasses?

Float glass, shatterproof glass, laminated glass, extra-clean glass, chromatic glass, tinted glass, toughened glass, glass blocks, glass wool, and insulated glazed units.

?What are the applications of glasses in building constructions?

shop fronts, public places, windows, skylights, floors, aquariums, bridges, stain proof, aesthetics, ICU’s, meeting rooms, insulations, wall constructions, fire-resistant doors, and mobile screen protectors.

?What is U value of a glass?

U value represents the amount of heat transferred through glass. If a glass is said to be insulated unit then it should have lower u value.

?What is laminated and tempered/ toughened glass?

Laminated glass is the combination of layers of ordinary glass. It has superior weight, thickness, UV proof, and soundproof than a regular glass. Toughened or tempered glass is a durable glass that has low visibility.

Read More: Uses of Glass in Construction

Sadanandam Anupoju

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