Originally a material that was highly regarded and valuable, even being part of pieces of jewelry in the ancient world, glass is now everywhere around us. From the glasses we drink from, to the ones we see through, to the ones that form some of the barriers between us and the rest of the world, this material is everywhere. However, different types of glass aren’t made from the same things. Most glass is known to be fragile, but over the past century, we’ve made amazing developments in the production of bulletproof glass.
Bulletproof glass, more commonly known by experts within the industry as bullet resistant or ballistic glass, isn’t truly bulletproof. There are multiple levels of this glass, and it’s made from multiple materials, with each being more or less resistant to attack or other damage. Tempered glass, on the other hand, while able to stand up to damage, is vastly different from ballistic glass in the overall function it’s made for. So, what are some of the biggest differences and uses for tempered and ballistic glass, and how are they different?
What is tempered glass?
Tempered glass is essentially glass used in multiple applications that is designed to be stronger as well as safer than ordinary glass. Tempered glass is made by starting with ordinary glass, and then putting that glass through a system of heating and cooling until it’s approximately four times stronger. The glass used to make tempered glass needs to be cut down to size before the heating and cooling process in order to avoid potential shattering. Tempered glass is a common type of glass that is able to be found in some windows, especially those in cars. The increased strength means that tempered glass is better able to stand up to everyday wear and tear out in the world with little risk of shattering.
When it does shatter, however, is where the other unique aspect of tempered glass comes in. Unlike regular glass, which would shatter into long and jagged shards, tempered glass will shatter into countless small pieces. This happens because of increased tension in tempered glass. During the heating and cooling process, the center and the outside of the glass cool at different rates, which adds internal tension that both hardens the glass against impact and also means that when it does shatter, so much energy will send pieces flying everywhere.
Tempered glass’s strengths and weaknesses
Tempered glass is useful in many applications, like shower doors, car windows, ovens and microwaves, and more. It can stand up to heat and stress without shattering. The tiny pieces that go everywhere in the event that it does shower, however, means that these are much less likely to do damage or cause cuts than traditional glass, which can stay in large shards. In order to keep all of these tiny pieces in place, many pieces of tempered glass are wrapped in a film that protects them from superficial damage while making sure that it doesn’t explode pieces everywhere should something happen to it.
Ballistic glass: not always actual glass
Ballistic glass, sometimes known as bulletproof glass, is a totally different product than tempered glass, and in many cases made from entirely different materials. Ballistic glass is commonly known as bulletproof glass. This glass is able to put up with serious damage, whether it be from blunt objects or gunfire, all in a transparent barrier making it possible to complete transactions through with the right security system.
Some of the most common types of ballistic glass are created from bulletproof acrylic. This is a solid type of plastic that has a high strength and is able to stand up to many types of damage. As it is still clear, it is sometimes mistaken to be actual glass. While still strong, this isn’t as able to stand up to high powered gunfire or other attacks as other types of ballistic glass. Laminated polycarbonate, another type of ballistic glass, is created from alternating layers of polycarbonate on the outside, and a layer of polyurethane connecting it to an interior layer of acrylic. The multiple layers at play add density and strength to the ballistic glass, even though it is still a non-glass product. Glass-clad polycarbonate is the strongest type of ballistic glass, and is made from various layers of glass, polycarbonate, and PVB, or Poly Vinylbutyral material. The exterior of glass helps protect from exterior damage, and the alternating layers add up to major protection.
Different levels of bulletproof glass
Bulletproof, or ballistic glass, is separated into eight separate levels of protection. Level one is the lightest, and is only made to be able to stand up to small handguns. This is the most common type used, as it’s the most affordable and many robberies only are attempted with small arms. Levels two and three are more serious, and able to stand up to large handgun fire. These are used in more secure areas like banks or police stations. Levels 4-8 are designed to handle rifle fire and beyond, and these are usually reserved for government or military purposed.
The world of glass and security is as fascinating as it is useful, with each type, whether it’s tempered or ballistic, having a unique use that makes it extremely valuable. To learn more about the ballistic glass that could suit your needs, contact Creative Industries today.