Different Types of Glass to Explore
As you can imagine, the Valley Windows team has a few different materials that we’re very fond of… bamboo, stone, brick… just kidding. We’re all about glass! It’s such a beautiful and diverse material, in many different elements of your surroundings. You probably don’t even realize how often and in what different ways it’s being used in some of your favourite buildings in your area. Sometimes it’s very obvious – especially with modern or abstract styles of homes, as well as historic stained glass. Other times, you’re so used to walking by it that you wouldn’t realize the effort, science, love and art that’s gone in to the process of its design and installation. Well, Valley Windows blog readers – that’s why we’re here. One of – we hope – many reasons. Our blog is a helpful resource to make all of the decisions that mean the most to your home and a bulk of that information should be the materials that are used. Read on for more information about the crux of our business – glass.
Flat glass (the sort that you see the most) is produced by something called the float process. It’s really diverse – with dozens of different applications. This process was invented in 1952 by Sir Alastair Pilkington and was a game-changer, because now larger panels of glass, that were more consistent in shape, size and style, were able to be manufactured more easily. That’s more than 60 years ago. Today, there are almost 300 float plants around the globe that are equipped to output 800,000 tonnes of glass – each and every week. Each plant produces panels of glass that can be up to three metres wide.
On to the different types of glass. We’re going to cover three today.
Annealed – annealed glass is basic and is named after that stage of the float process. You’re working with molten glass, which is allowed to slowly cool in a controlled environment. The goal is for it to reach room temperature, so that it releases all stress from the material and ensures that it won’t crack. Annealed glass is a great base for additional advanced types of glass.
Heat Strengthened – this is a type of glass that’s semi-toughened or semi-tapered. You take the annealed glass that we just talked about and heat it up to almost 700 degrees Celsius. Then, before it can settle, you cool it right back down. This makes it twice as tough and more likely to stay together in future steps of any process its involved in.
Toughed Glass – If you talk to most contractors, this is most likely the type of glass that you’ll hear about most commonly. You start with treated annealed glass, heat it up to 700 degrees (using radiation, conduction and convention). Because there are different heating and cooling rates inside and on the outside of the glass, it’s the strongest and safest thus far.
These are just three of the types of glass preparations that we’re familiar to in our day-to-day but if you have questions about these or any others, please let the Valley Windows team know.