What would building design be like without glass? Glass is an essential part of the design process, so it is vital that you make the right choice for your project. Glass not only has a crucial role in temperature ambience and the comfort of the occupants, but also affects building design, appearance and the environment.

Manufacturing glass is a fascinating process. Melting together dolomite, sand, soda ash and limestone results in continuous glass ribbon 3660mm wide (after rebuild). As it flows from the furnace it practically floats the glass over a bed of molten tin. After being cooled slowly to toughen it, which modifies the internal stresses and gives it maximum potential for strength, it is then able to be cut.

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Types of glass:

A myriad variety of glass types are available in a vast array of patterns and tints, which makes it essential for you to choose the ones most suited to your project.

  • DecorPatterned glass

    This is when a pattern is embossed into the glass during its manufacture. The semi-molten glass is passed through a set of rollers before annealing (toughening). Only one side is embossed, while the other remains smooth. A square wire mesh can be included if necessary.

  • Insulating glass units
    These are often termed double glazed units, which are created when two or more panels of glass are bonded to a metal or thermoplastic spacer (TPS) perimeter spacer, with either air or argon gas used to fill the space between them. Solar control and insulation are the main benefits of this process. Most types of glass can be integrated into an insulating glass unit.
  • Laminated safety glass

    Two or more layers of glass are permanently bonded using an resin or interlayer. The interlayer is designed to still hold the glass together if it gets broken. Practically every variety of glass is able to be laminated and resistance to physical attack, bomb or ballistic can be provided by varying the thickness and type of interlayer used. Normal laminated glass can be cut and processed in further ways.

  • Toughened safety glass

    Float or DecorPatterned glass is heated in a roller hearth toughening furnace. After being rapidly cooled, it retains high compressive stresses. At four to five times stronger than ordinary glass, fully toughened glass becomes tiny granules if broken. Being twice as tough as ordinary glass, heat strengthened glass has a lower residual stress. As it is not a safety glass, it will reduce to large, sharp pieces if broken. Heat-strengthened and toughened glasses are resistant to high differential temperatures (between 180°C and 250°C) and cannot be cut.

  • Toughened Laminated Glass

    The epitome of safety glass. Each piece is toughened to provide structural strength that is second to none compared with annealed glass. To ensure that these pieces remain held together should a breakage occur, they are bonded with either PVB or Resin as the interlayer medium.

  • Fire resistant glass

    Transparent fire resistant glass comes in two types. Integrity glass only blocks the course of fire but not the heat. Insulation glass and integrity glass are not only fire resistant, but also insulate against the transfer of blazing heat. This is usually installed in fire exits and passageways, using an intumescent heat insulating material and multiple layers of glass.

  • Coated glass

    This high performance collection of glasses comprises microscopically thin, permanently bonded layers of metallic oxides. Coating technology comes in two forms:

    • On line, or pyrolitic hard coated:– during float glass manufacture, a deposit of a metallic oxide gas cathode vapour deposition (CVD) is made, which produces these coatings. The result is exceptionally durable coated products of easy processing, handling and transportation.

    • Off line coating – the magnetron sputtering or Airco uses high-grade float glass, which is placed in a sequence of vacuum chambers and then coated with atoms of alloys such as titanium, stainless steel or silver. The unique properties of these metals reflect the sun’s rays and radiate low levels of light and heat. The glass can be laminated if desired, and if you choose to have it toughened it must be done before coating. It is usual practice for coated glasses to be incorporated into laminated glass or insulating glass units, thereby protecting the coating.

  • Formed glass

    A deep DecorPattern can be provided when float glass is heated to its softening point temperature. It then drops into a custom-designed mould.

  • Self cleaning glass

    This is for exterior use. A pyrolitic coating is incorporated into this glass, which sheds water (hydrophilic) and dissolves dirt (photo activ) using natural UV light and rain.


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