Four Benefits of Designing with Laminated Glass

(Image: Residential high-rise, Block 71 in Austin, TX – glass makeup: ¼” Low Iron Tempered + .060” SGP + ¼” Low Iron Tempered w/Flat Polished Edges)

The demand for laminated glass has risen substantially over the last 10 to 15 years in residential and commercial applications. Laminated glass meets all the national safety standards, but there is so much more to laminated glass. Read on to learn about the multiple benefits of designing with laminated glass.  

First and foremost, laminated glass is a safety glass made of two or more panes of annealed or heat-soaked glass sandwiched together with a tear-resistant plastic film; typically, the plastic interlayer will be polyvinyl butyral (PVB) or ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA). Another interlayer that has become popular for high-performance laminated glass is Ionoplast which offers a tear strength 100 times that of conventional PVB or EVA interlayers.

When laminated glass breaks or shatters, the glass cracks but stays in place thanks to the plastic interlayer, preventing falling shards of glass. Laminated glass is commonly used in any desired glass applications requiring safety or protection.  Consequently, laminated glass is the preferred glazing option for extreme performance conditions such as hurricanes, bomb blasts, and security.  

Here are four benefits of designing with laminated glass: 

Benefit 1: Increased Safety

(Image: Austin Energy, Austin, TX – glass makeup: ¼” clear tempered +060 Orange PVB +1/4” Tempered Flat Polished Edges)

Laminated glass meets all the standards for safety glass: ANSI Z97.1 and CPSC 16DFR 1201.  As previously mentioned, laminated glass has two or more pieces of glass joined together by a plastic layer (typically PVB, EVA, or Ionoplast). When the glass shatters or breaks, the glass bonds with the interlayer 

An example of how laminated glass performs when impacted is the front windshield of automobiles after an accident.  All automobiles in the United States and Canada must use laminated glass in the front windshield for safety. If you have ever seen a car in an accident where the front windshield is impacted, you will see that the glass breaks but stays in place, adhering to the interlayer. Sometimes you will even see the entire windshield come out in one piece, and it looks like a wet blanket. The glass fragments remain bonded to the interlayer, minimizing the risk of injuries. 

The same principle follows for architectural laminated glass that is impacted. By limiting the glass fallout, architectural laminated glass provides safety. However, laminated glass takes safety to another level with natural disasters. Laminated glass is the primary glass product for high-performance glazing systems designed to withstand hurricanes, earthquakes, and tornados. Additionally, laminated glass is commonly used in glazing systems designed for bomb blasts and ballistics. In most of these high-performance applications, the entire glazing system is designed to work together to provide the desired safety performance and meet specific building codes and industry standards.

Benefit 2: Increased Security

(Image: retail application: Le Maison Simons Storefront, The Core Shopping Mall in Calgary, Alberta – glass makeup: curved safety glass – ½” Clear Heat Curved Annealed with 90% Frit Coverage on #2 Surface 090 Kuraray SGP ½” Clear Heat Curved Annealed – Flat Polished All Edges)

One of the most appealing benefits of laminated glass is its ability to provide increased security to a business or property. Laminated glass inherently provides a level of security in any glazed system and, when designed specifically for security applications, is the product of choice. 

While laminated glass may crack under pressure, it tends to remain integral, adhering to the plastic interlayer. Broken laminated glass will continue to provide a barrier to entry even after numerous attacks on the glass. Here is a link to a YouTube video by that illustrates how laminated glass performs when impacted.

Laminated glass for bomb blast and ballistics offers safety, as mentioned above, but also provides a high level of security. With these high-performing windows and doors, laminated glass is the most critical part of the overall glazing system’s design and performance. 

Benefit 3: Sound Insulation

(Image: educational building: The MacKimmie Project at the University of Calgary, Alberta – Exterior Façade – 50,000 square feet of glass – glass makeup: ¼” 060 Sound Proof Acoustic PVB, Safelex™, ¼” Pilkington Energy Advantage with Hard Code Low-e on #4 surface. Tempered with seamed edges)  

While regular glass is prone to allowing sound penetration into buildings, laminated glass provides an extra layer of sound insulation. A PVB interlayer film can block sound waves, offering a more comfortable space ambient. Laminated glass is ideal for high-traffic areas or urban cities with a high level of noise pollution. 

Unlike traditional glass of the same thickness, laminated glass (PVB) has a higher sound reduction index between 125Hz and 4,000Hz. The sound is drowned out due to the glass’s “viscoelastic” properties of the interlayer. The coincidence effect experienced with traditional glass can also be nullified when incorporating laminated glass. 

Benefit 4: Various Design Applications & Choices 

(Image: government building: Hollister Court House in Benita County, CA – Glass canopy application – glass makeup: CA3/8” low iron with 060 SGP over 3/8” low iron with Self-Cleaning Coding)

Laminated glass can be manufactured flat or curved. It can be annealed, heat-treated, patterned, printed, tinted, or color interlayer designed to meet your specifications. Laminated glass can also be manufactured with switchable privacy glass, blackout glass, reflective glass, and switchable solar control glass to achieve a striking image and increased privacy. 

To best fit laminated glass to your design aesthetic, the interlayer can be customized to include a striking design or different color entirely. With a broad selection of colors and digital print applications available, this feature is valued by owners and designers who want their property to stand among the competition. 

Glass 3 Enterprises

(Image: commercial building: 400 West Georgia in Vancouver, BC)

Glass 3 Enterprises provides complex laminated glass makeups throughout North America, meeting specific project applications. The 400 West Georgia office building in Vancouver, BC is a great example of the various type of laminated glass that was used in multiple applications:

Exterior Podium Curtain Wall Units – ¼”  Low Iron Tempered + 035 Kuraray Clear SGP + ¼” Low Iron Tempered with Low-E on #4 Surface / 3/8” Black Warm Edge Spacer Bar (Argon Filled) / ¼” Low Iron Heat Strengthened with Low E on #6 Surface / 3/8” Black Warm Edge Spacer Bar (Argon Filled) / ¼”  Low Iron Tempered + 070 Kuraray Clear SGP + ¼” Low Iron Tempered

Exterior Foyer Structural Fins – ½” Low Iron Tempered Heat Soaked / 090 Trosifol PVB/ ½”  Low Iron Tempered Heat Soaked / 090 Trosifol PVB/ ½”  Low Iron Tempered Heat Soaked / 090 Trosifol PVB /1/2”  Low Iron Tempered Heat Soaked. 40 foot fins

Interior Glass Stairs – 360 stairs – 3/8” Low Iron Tempered with Anti Slip Full Coverage on #1 & 2″ Dove Grey Frit-Anti Slip Color Band (Also on #1 Surface Applied After Full Coverage Anti Slip) / 060 Clear PVB / 3/8” Low Iron Tempered / 060 Diffused White PVB / 3/8” Low Iron Tempered – Flat Polished All Edges

Laminated glass offers designers and owners a variety of unique benefits beyond its safety capabilities. G3E offers laminated glass (billet or custom) in various sizes, colors, and makeups, depending on the required performance.

Looking for the Right Architectural Glass Product?

G3E can meet the most demanding glass specifications offering some of the largest sizes in the industry. If you have a project that requires a unique application with laminated glass, curved glass, oversize glass, or creative designs or tints, contact Glass 3 Enterprises Ltd. (G3E).  G3E is a full-service supply and sourcing solution for your architectural glass requirements. 

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