Think through your morning. Did you drive your car to work? Open a glass door to come inside? Set your coffee down on your glass-topped table? Now that you’ve scanned your office for all glass in sight and successfully freaked out the person in the cubicle beside you, you should know that there’s a great chance you’ve already encountered tempered glass today.

But do you know what it is and why it is so widely used?

The Tempering Process

In the tempering process, the outer surface of the glass is put under high compression and the interior into tension. Tempering occurs under controlled thermal or chemical treatments. The result of this kind of stress causes tempered glass to increase in strength. In fact, tempered glass is five times stronger than annealed glass.

But what else makes tempered glass different than other glasses? Tempered glass, when broken,  crumbles into small pieces opposed to splintering into shards. These small, granular pieces are far less likely to cause an injury.

Uses of Tempered Glass

Tempered glass—often called toughened glass—lives up to its name. Its durability combined with its shatter style is what makes tempered glass considered a safety glass.

Strength, thermal resistance, and safety are necessary requirements of glass used in vehicles. Since cars often sit for long hours in the hot sun or cold weather, vehicle glass must weather dramatic temperature changes. Impact must also be considered for moving vehicles, as glass comes in contact with small debris on the road as well as dramatic accidents. Tempered glasses’ composition meets all of these needs.

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Photo by Burak Kebapci on Pexels

Another common use for tempered glass is as architectural glass. Buildings and structures like balcony doors, athletic facilities, swimming pools, facades, shower doors, table tops, exhibition displays, and computer towers all are examples of architectural tempered glass. Using this toughened glass in commercial, home and office architecture allows for a greater assurance of strength in case of accident as well as longevity.

In summary, the process of tempering glass creates a stronger and safer piece that is used in architectural, vehicle and household glass all around us. So next time you get in a little fender bender and your windows hold up, or you walk into your glass office door for the 100th Monday in a row and it doesn’t break, say it with us—TGIT. Thank goodness it’s tempered.

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