The Wonder Of Laminated Glass

السبت، 2 أبريل 2016

When normal glass breaks, it often shatters into dangerous splinters and shards. The broken glass can easily cut, maim, or even kill a human being. Laminated glass is the solution for the windshield of your vehicle. Although it may shatter, the many small pieces of the windshield we be relatively harmless.

A modern automobile’s windshield protects the driver from flying bugs, rocks, and road debris. It also protects the driver from nature, which may seem relatively harmless except when you are traveling at a high speed. Rain, wind, snow, or even a falling tree leaf can impair a driver’s ability to safely operate his vehicle. Besides protecting a driver from nature’s elements and road hazards, a properly installed windshield forms part of the structural integrity of the vehicle in an accident or rollover.

In the olden days, the early windshield was just that – a shield from the wind. It protected the driver only as long as it didn’t shatter or crack. Once the windshield broke due to an accident or flying object, the glass could become more deadly than the accident. Imagine, if you will, large shards of glass spearing towards your face, hands, or neck. Worse yet, imagine thousands of pieces of broken glass flying at you. Decapitation and maiming occurred far more often in those days because the windshields were made of common glass.

Lawsuits were brought against Ford in the early days of the automobile. Most of those lawsuits were based on injuries to passengers and the driver from the windshield in an automobile accident.

In 1903, the French chemist Edouard Benedictus invented laminated glass by accident. During a laboratory experiment, he dropped a glass flask. The flask had been coated with cellulose nitrate – a form of liquid plastic that hardened after it cooled. The dropped glass broke in pieces, but they didn’t fall apart. The pieces were held together by the liquid coating on the outside of the flask.

It was years before the automobile industry started using laminated glass in their windshields. By 1939, the Ford Motor Company assembly lines were using the safer glass, manufactured by a company called British Indestructo Glass, Limited in Dagenham, England. Today, American law mandates that all automobile windshields be made of laminated glass.

The laminated glass of modern day is crafted by bonding a layer of polyvinyl butyral between two layers of glass. Large press rollers force out any air bubbles sandwiched between the glass and plastic. The final stage of the process is dipping the windshield into a heated and pressurized oil bath. The windshield is then ready for installation. It is important to note that all the cutting and shaping of a windshield must be completed prior to the lamination process. Once the laminate is applied to the glass, it is impossible to further cut or reshape it.

The polyvinyl middle layer of laminated glass prevents the windshield from splintering or fragmenting apart in thousands of pieces during an auto accident. If for any reason the windshield should break, the middle layer will protect the driver and passengers from being sprayed with broken glass. The glass pieces will stay glued to the polyvinyl layer, keeping the shattered windshield intact in one piece. Every once in a while you may see a movie where an actor is killed by a large shard of glass from the windshield of a modern vehicleScience Articles, but you should realize that the director has taken creative license for a more dramatic effect.

The windshield of your automobile is truly a great safety device that should not be taken for granted!
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