Shattering glass is one of the biggest issues facing both glass industry professionals and the end consumer. There are two types of glass that mitigate the risk of shatter: tempered and ballistic glass. The overall goal of both ballistic glass and tempered glass is to withstand impact. But what sets them apart from each other? What are their differences? Let’s find out!

Ballistic Glass

Ballistic glass, also referred to as bulletproof glass, is primarily used in places where bullets might be a problem. You’ll typically see it in areas like a jeweler’s windows, in military applications, or in bullet-proof cars for high-profile personalities.

The construction is simple: multiple layers of laminated glass are fused together into one sheet that is difficult to tell apart from a standard window pane. By using multiple sheets with numerous levels of protection, ballistic glass makes an effective barrier without having to be overly thick.

There are a whole slew of different types of bulletproof glass that range in thickness, to use. Some are meant to withstand small projectiles, while others that use layers like aluminum oxynitride can resist .50 caliber armor-piercing rounds.

Bulletproof glass has a medium tensile strength. It can withstand a hit, but that’s not where its strengths lie. Upon impact, bulletproof glass shatters and actively slows down the projectile while it is then “caught” by the polycarbonate layer used to fuse the panes of glass.

Ballistic Glass is very niche and can be a pricey product. It’s very rare to see bulletproof glass used in residential buildings, or any civilian uses whatsoever in the United States.

Tempered Glass

Tempered glass is also used to prevent damage upon impact, but in a very different way than ballistic glass. Tensile strength in tempered glass is very high. It can sometimes resist a direct impact from a baseball bat, something that ballistic glass cannot do without shattering.

Tempered is a much simpler product than ballistic glass. Instead of using fancy polycarbonate and multiple layers of glass, tempered is just heated in a furnace. Now obviously, that simplifies the process, but the basics are there.

Tempered glass is used in a lot of residential and civilian areas, unlike ballistic glass. Because of its designation as a safety glass, tempered glass can be used in applications such as stairwells, showers, and high-traffic residential and commercial uses.

Due to its easier construction and broader application, tempered glass is much more common and much cheaper than ballistic glass.

Both types of glass have their uses, and are extremely effective at what they do. Hopefully this post was able to teach you a few of their differences. If you liked this article and want to know more about the glass industry and get updates about the goings on, subscribe to our Glass Buyers Monthly Newsletter.

What are some of ways you’ve seen ballistic glass used? Let us know in the comments!

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