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What is Laminated Safety Glass?
It’s kind of amazing to think that other than the ability to manufacture curved glass, your windshield has gone through no significant changes since safety glass was developed for automotive applications in the 1920s.
Before collision warnings, air bags and even seat belts, laminated glass or “safety glass” and tempered glass were at the forefront of saving lives in automobile crashes. Prior to 1927, the glass featured in automobiles was no different than the glass in your storm door: plate glass used more for its optical quality than any consideration for safety.
When auto traffic began to produce significant auto crashes, though, the qualities of plate glass made it a serious safety hazard. When plate glass breaks, it disintegrates into knife-like pieces that were tearing valuable customers to ribbons. It wasn’t until 1927 that auto manufacturers started using laminated safety glass windshields.
Laminated safety glass – marketed under the Duplate® brand from PPG – is actually two thin sheets of glass with a polycarbonate film layered between. The interlayer holds the thin sheets of glass together when they shatter, preventing some of the horrific injuries caused by plate glass.In the 1950s,
Glass manufacturers figured out how to manufacture curved safety glass, which was the last real significant change to windshields. A few things like tint, bonded moldings, ceramic bands that allow better urethane bonding on installation have come along in the meantime.
In the 1980s, some auto manufacturers experimented with a second inner layer of polycarbonate that was intended to protect occupants from cuts if the windshield broke, but they quickly abandoned it because it was nearly impossible to keep clean.
Laminated Safety Glass
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