Pioneer Glass stocks and sells many types of safety glass including tempered glass, laminated glass, polycarbonate glass, and acrylic (plexiglass) glass. While technically polycarbonate and acrylic glass are more of a plastic type of material they are generally used as a glass. Let’s take a look at these and other types of safety glass to see what may be the best choice for your project.
Tempered Glass is manufactured at higher temperatures and cooled rapidly. The end result is a pane of glass that is four times as strong as regular (annealed) glass. Basically the inner portion of the pane is under pressure so that if it does break it will create much less dangerous “pebbles” of glass rather than larger shards. Side windows in vehicles are generally made with tempered glass. Glass for shower enclosures and doors are also made with tempered glass. With its strength most glass shelves are made of tempered glass. Because the glass is under pressure, tempered glass can not be cut without breaking.
Laminated Glass is two panes of glass held together by a polyvinyl butyral glued film. While not as strong as tempered glass, laminate has a distinct advantage by staying in place when broken by moderate force. Windshields are made of laminated glass to protect the car occupants from flying glass. Laminated glass offers more soundproofing, energy efficiency, and ultraviolet light reduction than regular tempered glass. Laminated glass can stop or delay burglars from entering and is prized as commercial storefront and door glass.
Tempered Laminated Glass
The best of both worlds with the high strength of tempered glass with the stay in place characteristic of laminated glass. Because it is both tempered and laminated the costs are high for this product and is only used in very demanding applications. It is code for glass railings with uncovered walkways below and in all commercial glass railing systems.
Acrylic (Usually known as Plexiglass)
More a plastic than a glass plexiglass is a quick and readily available product that can be cut by most saws rather than requiring a glazier. It is lighter and more flexible than glass. From a safety ( but not fire code) standpoint plexiglass can be used as an alternative to tempered glass. It does scratch much easier than glass and has special cleaning requirements. Contrary to common opinion modern plexiglass is resistant to yellowing. Common uses are signage, storm window replacement, picture frame glass and covid barriers.
Polycarbonate (Usually known as Lexan®)
Polycarbonate is also more of a plastic than a glass but is used as a glass substitute. With great breakage resistance polycarbonate is a major ingredient in bulletproof glass. It is frequently used in very high security and safety applications such as prisons and asylums. Polycarbonate is also used extensively in construction equipment cabs as side glass and windshields as it is more likely to withstand flying rocks and branches. Despite its unparalleled strength it actually scratches easier than any of the other safety type glass. In strong UV light polycarbonate will yellow.
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Pioneer Glass provides glass shower enclosure services in the Central Massachusetts and surrounding areas, including: Whitinsville, Northbridge, Blackstone, Douglas, Grafton, Hopedale, Manchaug, Mendon, Millbury, Millville, Oxford, Sutton, Upton, Uxbridge, and Worcester. Plus, the Rhode Island counties of Bristol, Kent, Newport and Providence county. And Tolland and Windham county in Connecticut.