Learn the Technique of Glass Tempering Process

The very many glasses you see in commercial buildings, glass showers, and automobiles have been tempered. We are going to look at how we can achieve this and some other facts that are important to you regarding this.

What Is Glass Tempering

We can describe this as the process we use to increase the strength of glass using thermal means. The result of this thermally controlled process is that your glass material toughens more than normal glass.

You can apply tempered glass as a form of safety in your application since it is very hard to break. This is because when tempered, your glass will undergo massive compression on one surface.

The other surface will be under heavy tension. This tension is harnessed on the edges of your tempered glass giving it a very strong finishing.

This means that if you manage to break your tempered glass, it breaks down into small granular-like pieces. Let as have a step-by-step look at how your glass can be tempered.

Glass Tempering Machine
Glass Tempering Machine

Process of Tempering Glass

You first need to fabricate a complete piece of glass for it to be tempered. Here are the processes that it goes through for the tempering to be complete:

Glass Tempering Process
Glass Tempering Process

· Cutting

To begin with, the glass has to be cut into the shape that you are going to use in your application. Other processes such as etching are also carried out on it before this process begins.

Skipping processes such as edging means that you will get substandard tempered glass due to a flawed process. The end product will be fragile and can break very easily.

· Inspection

From the description above, you have seen that tempering is a process requiring very high temperatures. This means that it will have an impact on the structure of your glass.

That is why it is important to thoroughly inspect the glass to root out any defects that may cause a flawed glass structure. This work is confined to a trained inspector who can easily identify any cracks or bubbles.

· Smoothening and Decontamination

For this process, the edges are smoothened using sandpaper or any abrasive that can be safely used on glass. It is in this stage that any other fabrication process or additional grinding is carried out.

If you see your tempered glass with smooth edges, then this is where that magic happens. To get rid of any contaminants or pieces of glass from grinding, the glass is given a thorough wash.

This also ensures that in the next process, such contaminants don’t end up weakening your tempered glass.

· Extreme Heating

The cleaned glass is then placed inside a tempering oven. This is an extremely hot oven with a temperature of about 620°C.

This is the industry-accepted temperature when heating any tempered glass to ensure the right standards are maintained.

Glass Tempering Furnace Features
Glass Tempering Furnace Features

· Rapid Cooling

The final stage is cooling of your tempered glass which is usually under very high pressure. You may think this is an intense process but it takes just a few seconds.

This is because the source of cooling is strategically placed nozzles that emit blasts of air to the glass surface. The cooling is in such a way that the center begins cooling and, in a way, contracts.

The contraction creates tension in the inner surface of your tempered glass. This in turn results in the compression of the outer surface of the glass.

This simple mechanism is why you will end up with very strong tempered glass. Its toughness will also impress you.

· Quality Inspection

Quality is not a compromise when it comes to the safety of tempered glass. That is why after cooling, they have to undergo a detailed and thorough inspection to remove any defective tempered glass.

Benefits of Glass Tempering

There are very many benefits you can get from using a glass that has undergone the tempering process. Let us have a general overview of some of them and how you can benefit:

· Improved Strength

You will realize that your tempered glass becomes up to five times stronger than your average glass. This means

· Flexible

You can cut your tempered glass in and the shape and design you want for your application. This means that you can use your tempered glass in a wide range of applications provided you have a fitting tempered glass.

· Safety

It gives you a form of security since it will take a lot of effort to break it. Even if you do, the broken pieces are in the form of shards that are less risky compared to regular glass with sharp broken edges.

You can easily remove them after breakage while cleaning without risking any form of injury.

· Durability

Since this process alters the structure of your glass, it makes it more durable besides strengthening it. Besides your tempered glass serving you for a very long time, they are also scratch-proof.

· Resistance to Temperature

When applied in your household applications, it can withstand the beating from the extreme heating that you expose it to. It is widely known to satisfy many building fire code regulations therefore it is a safe bet for you.

Applications of Glass Tempering Process

Because of its versatility, you can use tempered glass in very many applications. Let us dive into some of them:

  • If you have noticed how tough car windows are, then you have a clue about this tempered glass application. They are meant to provide you with some form of safety during an accident or when they break. This is because they will disintegrate into small granular-like pieces that will harm you less. Imagine what would happen if such windows were made from the regular glass.
  • You can find them in your homes where they are used together with appliances that emit heat. They are used to make oven windows, counters for placing stoves, and even table tops.
  • You can use it in applications that are meant to overcome any form of wear and tear. They can protect you from injuries if such installations break. These include high-pressure and explosion-proof windows. You can also use them in display cases and many lighting products.
  • Building codes require you to install tempered glass windows in tall commercial buildings and public places. You can also find them on sliding doors, store-front windows, and even windows used for customer service.
Tempered Glass on Phone
Tempered Glass on Phone

How to Tell a Glass Has Undergone Tempering Process

The easiest way you can tell that glass is not tempered is if it breaks easily. However, we have other ways that you can use to identify a non-tempered glass.

Let us have a look at these simple ways:

Tempered Glass
Tempered Glass

· Check the Edges

We have seen that part of the tempering process is smoothing the glass edges. You will find some glasses with smooth edges but they are not tempered a rough edge is a clear give-away for non-tempering.

· Imperfections

In as much as the tempering process is very thorough, your tempered glass will still have some slight imperfections. If you are very keen, then you can notice some form of bending or very slight distortions.

This is due to the extreme heat used in the process that makes it pliable. You may also be able to spot very small marks that were brought about by particle scratches during tempering.

· Process Stamp

Most manufacturers usually place a stamp to show that the glass sheet has been tempered. You can find this on any of the glass sheet corners with details such as the manufacturer’s name and any industry requirements.

·  Use a Polarized Lens

There are some unique features of tempered glasses that you cannot see with your naked eyes. If you use a polarized lens, you will notice some lines running across your glass pane.

You have to carry this out in the sunlight to get a clear view. These lines were made when the glass was being heated by the rollers that were moving them.

· Cut a Line

You can easily break your tempered glass or weaken its structure when you try to cut it. You will only be making the surface uneven and most of the tempered glass will simply flake off.

On the contrary, scoring a line on an annealed or regular glass will give you a different result. You will achieve a very clean and neat line when you use a glass cutter for that.

Factors to Consider Before Tampering Your Glass

You can have your tempered glass fabricated in the shape or design your application demands. However, there are some project-specific details that you need to put into account before doing this.

Such details are also required by your tempered glass manufacturer if you want quality work done. Keep in mind that just a minor error in any measurement can render the tempered glass unfit for your application.

Let us look at the list of things you should factor in before requesting for a tempering process for your glass sheets:

· Type of Glass

Every project has a glass that is specific to its application. Ensure that you specify this to your manufacturer so that you don’t end up with the wrong glass for your application.

· Application Details

You need to be sure what purpose your tempered glass is going to serve since modifications cannot be done after tempering. You need to provide your glass tempering fabricator with specifics such as the actual dimensions and intended purpose.

You must render details such as how thick you want your tempered glass to be and if you need holes in it. You can also request for notches to be placed and explain any attachments that you are going to place on the glass.

· Edgework

Any procedure done on the edges of your tempered glass has to be carried out before it has been heated. In as much as it is meant to smoothen any sharp edges, it can be designed to give your glass pane a sophisticated aesthetic finish.

Some of the edge work finishing you can go for include a bullnose edge, a beveled edge or even just a plain flat edge. You can as well go for a polished finish if you want to give your glass pane that shiny touch.

Conclusion

The glass tempering process can give you a very quality tempered glass that can serve your various applications. However, you have to go for a glass fabricator having the best skills with modern technology if you want the best.

There are advances in technology combined with modern state-of-the-art equipment that such manufacturers can use. They ensure that your custom-made tempered glass is of the highest quality and fits your application.

More Resources:

Glass Manufacturing Process – Source: WEPROFAB

Ballistic Glass – Source: WEPFOFAB

How to Tamper Glass – Source: WIKIHOW

Tampered Glass – Source: WIKIPEDIA

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