Windshields are made of laminated safety glass, a type of glass that is composed of a piece of plastic sandwiched between two layers of glass. The three layers are sealed together and air pockets are removed by rollers or vacuum systems.
Automatic glassis either tempered or laminated. The glass used for the front and rear door windows and the rear window is usually tempered, while the windshield is made of laminated glass.
Laminated glass is designed to survive extreme impacts without breaking, which helps to prevent injuries from flying shards of glass or passengers being thrown through the windshield. Tempered glass is four to five times stronger than before the tempering process. When it breaks, it is designed to break into small pieces that are less likely to cause additional injury or damage. All automotive glass is made with safety in mind.
Laminated glass is made up of two pieces of glass with a thin layer of vinyl between them. The three pieces are laminated together by applying heat and pressure in an autoclave. When a small object hits a piece of safety glass, usually only the outer layer breaks. In most homes, windows are made of standard glass that breaks into large pieces when broken.
Automotive glass, however, must be able to withstand bumps, rocks, and fender benders. For this reason, automotive glass is manufactured in two different types of safety glass: laminated for windshields and tempered for side and rear windows. Automotive glass is also used for sunroofs; they are designed to be UV-resistant to help passengers enjoy natural light without harmful UV rays. The layers of laminated safety glass are bonded together using high temperatures to provide an incredibly strong and durable automotive glass that won't break in the event of an accident.
Tempered glass is designed to disintegrate into small pieces the size of rock salt when broken. Automotive glass can serve multiple purposes depending on consumer requirements. For windshield replacement, you have the option of selecting a replacement made by a company that makes OEM windshields or aftermarket glass made by non-OEM manufacturers. Glass manufacturers continue to explore new ideas to make automotive glass stronger, safer and more adaptable to new vehicles.
The modern vehicle incorporates more glass than ever before, including larger windshields, sunroofs and even glass panels that replace the roof completely. However, most car windshields are made of safety glass for maximum protection.