Laminated glass comprises two panes of clear tempered glass with a vinyl interlayer sandwiched between them. The glass adheres to the interlayer. In the event that the glass is cracked or broken, the small shards stay in place rather than falling out of the frame, reducing the risk of injury from shattering or falling glass. As with other types of clear glass, laminated glass may be tinted or coated to produce other aesthetic and functional effects such as lowered emissivity.
In applications like windows and in sports, where there is a higher risk of impact to the glass and injury resulting from potential shatters, a common option for developers is tempered glass. Tempering is another heat-treatment process that causes the cooled glass to shatter into many tiny pieces upon impact, reducing the risk of injury from falling glass shards that are large or heavy.
Annealed and tempered varieties of glass have various applications, however, both these types of glass will still break and come apart upon impact. This can be problematic in applications where you do not want shattered glass to spread outside of the window pane or frame. Examples include high balconies and windows on upper stories where falls are a risk, as well as windows, skylights, mirrors, and glass displays in public places where there is a higher risk of impact. In such scenarios, laminated glass is the safest bet, as it will hold the glass shards in place, further reducing the risk of injury.
Aside from applications in safety glass, laminated glass is ideal for sound dampening. The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) uses a numeric classification system known as Outdoor/Indoor Transmission Class to describe the sound dampening qualities of various materials. Just 6mm of laminate can improve a window’s OITC rating by as much as 8 points, greatly reducing unwanted ambient noise due to traffic, construction, and outdoor crowds.
In regions where windstorms, hail, and other extreme weather patterns are common, laminated glass used in homes can provide an extra level of protection and peace of mind for homeowners. Laminated glass resists damage from weather-based impacts and stays within the window frame even in the event of a breakage. This resistance to weather and impacts also makes laminated glass ideal for automotive applications.
Thicker constructions of laminated glass are designed to meet standards and guidelines for preventing forced entry and burglary. The presence of a thicker laminate interlayer keeps glass from shattering easily and renders glass cutters useless, improving security even in spaces with large, accessible windows.