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What Makes Auto Glass Unique?

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The glass windshield and windows in your vehicle might not look that different from the panes of glass in your residential windows at first glance. Despite the fact that these two types of glass look similar, they couldn't be more different. Auto glass is a unique product that is designed to provide reliable visibility while maximizing safety in the event of an accident.

Learn more about the features that make auto glass unique so that you can appreciate the importance of repairing a damaged window or windshield on your vehicle in the future.

Specialized Manufacturing

Auto glass is manufactured using unique materials. Traditional residential windows are made primarily of silica sand that has been heat-treated to create a transparent product.

Auto glass contains a large percentage of silica sand, but other materials are added to this silica sand during manufacturing to increase the strength and durability of auto glass. Common additives found in auto glass include dolomite, soda ash, limestone, and cullet. Not only do these minerals enhance durability, but they also reduce the melting point of the silica sand so that it is easier to work with throughout the manufacturing process.

Windshields are created using a highly specialized manufacturing process. A piece of vinyl is sandwiched between two layers of auto glass, then all three layers are fused together when making a windshield. Once fusion is complete, the windshield will be laminated to help bolster structural integrity.

Windshields need to be durable enough to withstand serious damage during an accident to protect the occupants inside a vehicle. The fusion and lamination aspects of manufacturing help to make windshield glass as durable as possible.

Unique Shatter Properties

If you were to break a residential windowpane and a piece of auto glass, you would see that the two produce very different shatter patterns. Residential glass typically breaks into large, sharp shards that could cause serious injury.

Auto glass is designed to either stay in one piece after being shattered or break apart into thousands of tiny, dull pieces. The purpose of this unique shatter pattern is to protect the occupants of a vehicle against any glass-related injuries in the event of an auto accident. Eliminating the potential for jagged shards whenever auto glass breaks ensures that the occupants of a vehicle will not be cut or sliced when a windshield or window breaks.

Window and Windshield Glasses Differ

The glass that is used to create windshields is not the same glass that is used for the side and rear windows on a passenger vehicle. Windshields are made from laminated glass, while windows are made from tempered glass. Tempered glass is created by the heat-treating regular glass to make it more durable. The reason that auto windows are tempered is so they can be broken in the event of an emergency.

It's possible for the occupants of a vehicle to become trapped inside during an accident. A specialized hammer can be used to easily break an auto window into many dull pieces in order to provide the vehicle's occupants with access to an emergency exit. Tempered glass is stronger than traditional glass but not as durable as the laminated glass used in windshield production.

Auto glass contributes to the safety and function of all modern vehicles. Any damage that your windshield or auto windows sustain should be repaired immediately to avoid creating a safety hazard. Minor damage that is not addressed quickly can spread, putting your windshield or auto windows at risk of breaking at an inopportune time. Work with an auto glass professional to keep the glass on your vehicle functional and safe.