Windscreens play an important part of keeping a car protected from the elements, while also protecting the driver while driving. But driving can be a hazardous activity, and windscreens need to be durable enough to withstand anything from head-on collisions to attempted break-ins/ All the types of glass that are used when making windscreens are considered safety glass, although there are two variations that tend to be the most common: Laminated glass and tempered glass.
We will break down the two, so you know the benefits and disadvantages of each.
Laminated glass consists of two sheets of glass that are attached together using polyvinyl butyral, or PVB, which is a type of plastic that is completely transparent. The windscreen is subject to high heat and extreme pressure during production, which fuses the two sheets of glass together using the plastic substrate in the middle as a kind of glue.
Making use of laminated glass comes with several benefits. One of the biggest being that the vinyl inside the glass prevents it from shattering should there be a sudden accident.
Shattering glass can cause serious injury or loss, but the vinyl is able to absorb the energy from a collision, and while the glass may break, it won’t shatter into splinters and harm those inside the car. Another advantage of laminated glass is that it stops drivers from being thrown out through the windscreen should they come to a sudden stop while not wearing a seat belt, acting as a barrier.
Laminated glass is common in most kinds of vehicles thanks to its safety properties, and is mainly used for the windscreen, although it can be used for side and back windows, depending on the make.
Tempered glass is a kind of glass that tends to be much harder and tougher than most other standard glasses. It’s made through a process that involves heating and cooling in rapid succession, and results in a windscreen that breaks into smaller, pebble-like pieces if it’s broken.
The pieces are dull and rounded, making them much safer for the passengers of the vehicles in the event it shatters. Tempered glass is most often found back and side windows, but it’s used in other parts of the world, such as for cooking dishes, and the touch screens on smart phones, which is why they tend to be both tough and crystal clear, which is obvious while playing any game other regions have on offer these days.
But regardless of the type of windscreen that you have in your car, it’s important that it’s looked after at all times. The bright side is that you are looking at it as you drive, so should notice any changes quickly.
Hairline cracks and chips are extremely common, especially if you drive on a regular basis. Hairline cracks have the potential to slowly creep over the windscreen quickly and can completely compromise the structural integrity of the glass – which can eventually get to the point where it shatters suddenly while driving.
It’s best to have any damage to the windscreen seen to immediately; it’s a common myth that people believe some damage means a windscreen needs to be replaced entirely, but most damage can easily be repaired cheaply and quickly.