Architectural glass is an incredibly durable material, lending itself to balustrades, overhead canopies, elevator shafts and countless other applications in design and construction. However with such architectural applications not only comes a demand for an eye-catching aesthetic but perhaps just as equally, a demand for safety and security too.
Glass is toughened for architectural use
Recent changes in safety requirements and regulations, combined with advancements in laminating technology, have led multi-ply laminates to become the choice material for architectural safety glass.
This is the most secure option available, due to the manufacturing process of combining two or more toughened glass panes into one extremely durable panel. The pieces are bonded seamlessly together with a special interlayer, such as polyvinylbutyral (PVB), using heat and pressure to combine them into a single piece. For additional peace of mind and safety, all panes of architectural glass are often heat soak tested prior to final processing.
The interlayer doesn’t just bind the glass sheets together, it also keeps them from shattering. In the unlikely event the glass is damaged, it will form spider web cracks instead of scattering.
The majority of the glass pieces will remain adhered to the sheet, which prevents the shards from becoming projectiles and harming passers-by. Architectural laminated glass is designed to remain secure even if the load bearing pane fails. The remaining glass panels in the structure will continue to function normally until repairs can be undertaken.
A key safety standard that laminated architectural glass solutions are required to meet is BS EN 14449 : 2005. This is an evaluation of factory production control as well ss the glass pane’s conformity and product standard.
Another important classification that should be achieved by all architectural glass products is BS EN 12543-4 : 1998, which tests the durability of laminated glass and laminated safety glass.
Impact testing of architectural glass panels
To ensure their capability of meeting safety requirements, architectural glass panels are subject to specific impact tests depending on the application of their intended use. For these specific classifications, the pendulum swing method is used. This impact test comprises of a 50kg weight, which is enclosed by two pneumatic tyres, being swung at a glass pane. If the glass doesn’t break, it’s considered safe to use in architectural glass design.
Furthermore, there are three different steps in the pendulum test. The weight is dropped from a higher height each time, and classified according to which levels it breaks, or doesn’t break, on.
This level of impact testing is essential to ensure that architectural glass solutions comply with legal safety regulations and to minimise the possibility of an accident or injury. The impact testing guarantees that the glass would need to endure repeated blows before showing signs of damage. This allows the glass to be fit for purpose for use in architectural glass doors, walkways or even buildings’ facades.
Want to discover how Diamond Glass architectural glass can benefit your project?
Diamond Glass are proud to serve as one of the leading architectural glass manufacturers in the U.K. We use the latest in CNC technology to ensure the highest level of accuracy with your final product. Solutions can be drilled, polished and notched depending on your specific requirements.
For more information on how architectural glass and glazing can improve the design and security of your project, contact Diamond Glass. Our team of architectural glass suppliers will be happy to discuss the specifications of your design.