What is Tempered Glass?
Laminated glass is strong provided it’s fixed, either via a rubber gasket, or urethane adhesive bonding.
Manufacturers used to use it in side windows, but because the side windows are designed to move up and down, it was commonplace to crack the glass.
By the 1950s, manufacturers were using curved glass, and in the 1970s and 1980s, flush-mounted glass with bonded moldings became much more commonplace. Safety glass won’t work in those applications.
Tempered glass became the standard for all side and back windows after about 1957. Tempered glass is thermally annealed to 720° Fahrenheit to increase its strength when compared to plate glass. It’s incredibly strong to a point, but when it breaks, it shatters into a gazillion tiny pieces, instead of breaking into shards like laminated glass.
While it helps reduce devastating injuries, its disadvantage is that it’s simply ineffective in occupant retention, which was a strong advantage of laminated glass in between the 1920s and 1950s. Once seatbelt adoption became widespread, that disadvantage became less of an issue.
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