When it comes to cars, safety is paramount. To ensure the safety of drivers and passengers, two main types of glass are used in the automotive industry: laminated glass and tempered glass. Laminated glass is used for windshields, while tempered glass is used for side and rear windows. Tempered glass is designed to break into small, less dangerous pieces in the event of an accident.
This process involves heating the glass to high temperatures and then cooling it rapidly. This induces compressive stress on the surface of the glass, giving it strength and durability far beyond normal glass. If broken, tempered glass breaks into small pieces that do not have extremely sharp edges, reducing the risk of serious injury. Laminated glass is also used in cars, but primarily for windshields. This type of glass is made up of two layers of glass with a layer of polyvinyl butyral (PVB) between them.
The layers are heat fused together to create incredibly strong and durable automotive glass that won't break in the event of an accident. The process also changes the glass so that, if broken, it breaks into small pieces that do not have extremely sharp edges. In addition to side and rear windows, tempered glass is also used for sunroofs. Automotive glass is designed to be UV-resistant to help passengers enjoy natural light without harmful UV rays. It is also resistant to dust, dirt and impacts to prevent annoying particles from sticking to the glass and distorting the driver's line of sight. The popularity of automotive glass lies in its strength, durability, flexibility and versatility.
It is responsible for 60% of a car's structural integrity in rollover accidents, while absorbing 45% of the impact of a head-on collision. Different types of automotive glass are used throughout a vehicle because each type has a different purpose. Laminated glass is used for windshields while tempered glass is used for side and rear windows, deflector glasses, ventilation glasses and glazed roofs (if the car has one). Some premium cars such as the Mercedes Benz S350 use all laminated glass, including door glasses and rear windshields.