Is automotive glass tempered?

When it breaks, it's actually quite harmless. Automatic glass is tempered or laminated. The glass generally used for the front and rear door windows and the rear window are made of tempered glass, the windshield is made of laminated glass. Tempering produces a piece of hardened glass that is four to five times stronger than before the tempering process.

The tempered glass of the final product is more difficult to break. Tempered glass is most commonly used in passenger windows of cars, while laminated glass forms the front and rear windshields most of the time. When tempered glass breaks, it is designed to break into small pieces that are less likely to cause additional injury or damage. The side and rear windows are made of tempered glass, which is produced by heating the glass to more than 1,100° F and then cooling it quickly.

This “tempering process” makes glass many times stronger than untempered glass of the same thickness. In addition to laminated glass, automakers began using tempered glass in the late 1930s. This type of glass is used in the side and rear windows of the vehicle and gains strength through a rapid heating and cooling process that strengthens the outer surface of the glass and its core. In your car, the glass used for the windshield is different from the glass used for the side and rear windows.

However, more than anything, laminated glass is more popular because if it breaks, the pieces of glass stick to the plastic layer, rather than falling to the ground or, worse, the driver's face or body. In fact, if the glass breaks, laminated glass might be easier to replace because less cleaning is usually needed. The modern vehicle incorporates more glass than ever before, including larger windshields, sunroofs and even glass panels that replace the roof completely. Tempered glass is created by rapidly heating and then cooling the glass to room temperature by introducing it through a blower system.

Glass manufacturers continue to explore new ideas to make glass stronger, safer and more adaptable to new vehicles. This glass meets original safety and quality specifications such as factory glass. The process also changes the glass so that, if broken, it breaks into small pieces of glass that do not have extremely sharp edges. Laminated glass is made by sandwiching a layer of polyvinyl butyral (PVB) between two pieces of glass.

Laminated glass was patented for vehicles in 1909 after two women were seriously injured by glass debris following a car accident. Current laminated glass consists of a thin layer of polyvinyl butyral (PVB) sandwiched between two layers of solid glass. Laminated glass is also difficult to break, as it is manufactured by creating layers involving glass and a specialized plastic layer, so it tends to bend and flex when struck with any force or blunt object. That inserted layer of PVB is what allows the glass to absorb energy during an impact and gives it resistance to the penetration of flying projectiles.

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