What Windshields Are Really Made Of
What a material glass is- it provides so well for us in so many useful ways, working to fulfill the needs for visibility and aesthetics alike! But what about safety- with something that tends to get smashed up as often as a car, is it really smart to have it encapsulated by something that a slight impact can transform into a seeming infinity of microscopic knife blades?
The fear of this sort of danger is what resulted in the creation of things like tempered glass. Tempered glass, when shattered, is designed to break into thousands of tiny pebble-like fragments that won’t cut you. It seems reasonable that a car’s windshield should be composed of such a material. Are windshields made from tempered glass?
Windshields are generally made from laminated instead of tempered glass. Laminated safety glass is a specially treated glass composed of two curved glass sheets combined with a plastic laminated layer in between for added safety.
Why are windshields made from laminated glass?
Laminated glass is more durable than tempered glass, which makes it better able to protect the driver and passengers in the event of an impact. If shattered, it will break into non-sharp pieces just like tempered glass so that you won’t be cut. A glass run channel holds the window in place, which further helps contain glass fragments if the glass is broken.
Laminated windshield glass also typically has a nice UV coating to protect against the harmful rays of the sun, in addition to that fact that laminated safety glass absorbs most of those rays naturally anyway.
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Where is tempered glass used?
Whereas laminated glass is commonly used for the windshield, tempered glass is used on a vehicle’s side and rear windows, where there is less danger of direct impact. Tempered glass is similar to laminated in that it shatters into non-sharp pieces when broken. It’s structured differently, however, and if it breaks at all it will have to be fully replaced, whereas laminated glass can be repaired.
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