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What Is Laminated Glass: A Comprehensive Guide

Updated: 05/31/2024

Ever wondered what makes laminated glass so special? Well, you’re in the right place! Laminated glass isn’t just your run-of-the-mill material; it’s a game-changer in various industries, from construction to automotive.

At Apex Tempered Glass, a trusted manufacturer of laminated and tempered glass in Chicago, we’re passionate about sharing our expertise and shedding light on this incredible innovation. Grab your virtual hardhat because we’re about to dive deep into the world of laminated glass!

What Is Laminated Glass?

What Is Laminated Glass?

Laminated glass is a type of safety glass that consists of two or more layers of glass bonded together with a layer of polyvinyl butyral (PVB) or ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) interlayer. This interlayer holds the glass layers together even when shattered to provide increased strength and safety.

How Is Laminated Glass Made?

The manufacturing process of laminated glass involves several steps:

  1. Cutting the Glass: Sheets of glass are first cut to the desired size and shape.
  2. Cleaning: The glass sheets are thoroughly cleaned to remove any dust, dirt, or contaminants that could affect the bonding process.
  3. Preparation of Interlayer: The PVB or EVA interlayer material is cut to match the size of the glass sheets. Sometimes, colored or decorative interlayers are used for specific design purposes.
  4. Assembly: The glass sheets and interlayer(s) are assembled together in a specific order. Typically, the interlayer is placed between two sheets of glass.
  5. Heating and Pressing: The assembled layers are then placed into a specialized oven called an autoclave. The autoclave subjects the layers to heat and pressure, causing the interlayer to melt and bond with the glass. This process is called lamination.
  6. Cooling: After lamination, the glass is cooled gradually to room temperature to stabilize the structure and ensure uniformity.
  7. Trimming and Inspection: Once cooled, the laminated safety glass undergoes trimming to remove any excess interlayer material. It’s then thoroughly inspected for defects or imperfections to ensure quality and safety standards are met.

The result is a strong, durable, and transparent material that offers enhanced safety features, such as resistance to impact and penetration.

Advantages of Laminated Glass

Advantages of Laminated Glass

Safety and Security Features

Laminated safety glass offers enhanced safety by remaining intact even when broken, thanks to its interlayer. This minimizes the risk of injury from sharp edges, making it ideal for automotive windshields, building windows, shower doors, and safety barriers.

Sound Insulation Capabilities

The interlayer in laminated glass acts as a damping barrier, reducing the transmission of sound waves. This makes it perfect for noise-sensitive environments like residential areas, hospitals, and offices, ensuring a quieter and more comfortable indoor atmosphere.

UV Protection and Energy Efficiency

Laminated glass blocks harmful UV radiation, protecting interior furnishings and artwork from fading and damage. Additionally, it contributes to energy efficiency by reducing heat transfer through windows, promoting a stable indoor temperature, and lowering energy consumption.

Durability and Resistance to Impact

With exceptional durability and resistance to impact, laminated glass maintains its structural integrity even under severe conditions. It’s used for hurricane-resistant windows, blast-resistant doors, and other high-security installations, offering reliable protection against extreme forces for occupant safety and asset preservation.

Types of Laminated Glass

  • Standard Laminated Glass: Standard laminated glass consists of two or more layers of glass bonded with an interlayer. It offers basic safety features and is commonly used in various applications where safety and security are priorities.
  • Tempered Laminated Glass: Tempered laminated glass undergoes a heat treatment process to enhance its strength and durability. It provides superior resistance to impact and is widely used in high-traffic areas and safety-critical environments.
  • Heat-Strengthened Laminated Glass: Heat-strengthened laminated glass is heat-treated to increase its resistance to thermal stress. While not as strong as tempered glass, it offers improved durability and safety compared to standard laminated glass.
  • Colored and Decorative Laminated Glass: Colored and decorative laminated glass incorporates tinted or patterned interlayers to achieve aesthetic effects. It combines style with functionality, offering design flexibility while still providing the safety and security features of laminated glass.
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Thickness of Laminated Glass

Thickness of Laminated Glass

Understanding the thickness of laminated glass means decoding a standardized notation system. This represents the composition of the glass layers and interlayer material. This notation typically consists of numbers that correspond to the thickness of the glass layers and the interlayer material.

For example:

  • “44.2” indicates laminated glass with two layers of 1/8 inch (~4mm) thick float glass and a 0.76 mm (or 2 x 0.38 mm) interlayer.
  • “33.4” indicates laminated glass with two layers of 3mm thick float glass and a 1.52 mm (4 x 0.38 mm) interlayer.

PVB Interlayer Thickness

  • 1 meaning 0.38 mm (Single interlayer) ≈ 0.015 inches
  • 2 meaning 0.76 mm (2 x 0.38 mm) ≈ 0.030 inches
  • 3 meaning 1.14 mm (3 x 0.38 mm) ≈ 0.045 inches
  • 4 meaning 1.52 mm (4 x 0.38 mm) ≈ 0.060 inches

Common Applications of Laminated Glass

Common Applications of Laminated Glass

Laminated glass is widely used across various industries and settings because of its unique properties and benefits:

  1. Automotive Windshields: Providing safety by remaining intact upon impact and reducing the risk of injuries from shattered glass in car windshields.
  2. Building Facades and Windows: Improving safety, security, and energy efficiency in buildings while offering protection against break-ins, UV radiation, and noise pollution.
  3. Skylights and Canopies: Offering protection against impact, weathering, and UV radiation while enhancing natural lighting in buildings.
  4. Safety Glass Installations: Meeting stringent safety standards in balustrades, partitions, and doors to provide reliable protection against impact and intrusion.
  5. Hurricane-Resistant Windows: Withstanding high winds and flying debris in regions prone to hurricanes and severe weather.
  6. Blast-Resistant Structures: Mitigating the impact of explosions and protecting occupants in government buildings, embassies, and military installations.
  7. Soundproofing Solutions: Reducing noise transmission and ensuring acoustic comfort in recording studios, concert halls, and residential areas.
  8. Museum Displays and Exhibits: Providing protection against vandalism, theft, and UV radiation while displaying artifacts in museums and exhibits.
  9. Retail Storefronts: Enhancing security by deterring break-ins and protecting merchandise from theft and damage in retail storefronts.
  10. Decorative Features: Adding aesthetic appeal to interior design and architectural projects while maintaining safety and functionality with colored and decorative laminated glass.

What Is the Cost of Laminated Glass?

Type of Laminated Glass Cost per Square Foot
Standard Panels $20 – $40
Thicker Panels $30 – $60
Customized/Specialty Panels $40 – $100 or more

The cost of laminated glass can vary depending on many factors such as thickness, size, additional features, and customization. However, to provide a general idea:

  • Standard laminated glass panels for windows or doors may range from $20 to $40 per square foot.
  • Thicker laminated glass panels designed for safety or security purposes can cost between $30 to $60 per square foot.
  • Customized or specialty laminated glass, such as colored or decorative options, may have higher costs, ranging from $40 to $100 per square foot or more.

These prices are approximate and can vary based on factors such as location, supplier, and specific project requirements. It’s always recommended to get quotes from multiple suppliers and discuss your project needs to get accurate pricing information.

When Should You Choose Laminated Glass Instead of Tempered Glass?

  • Choose laminated glass when safety and security are top priorities.
  • Laminated glass offers enhanced protection against break-ins, severe weather, and impacts.
  • It remains intact even when shattered, thanks to its interlayer, making it harder to break through and providing a higher level of security.
  • Commonly used in applications where maintaining structural integrity after breakage is essential, such as windows, doors, and automotive windshields.
  • Preferred in situations where sound insulation, UV protection, or energy efficiency are desired, as it offers superior performance in these areas compared to tempered glass.

The Bottom Line

In conclusion, laminated glass emerges as a superior choice for various applications, offering unparalleled safety, security, and durability. Its innovative construction, combining layers of glass with an interlayer, ensures protection against impacts, severe weather, and break-ins. While the initial cost of laminated glass may be higher compared to standard glass, its long-term advantages often justify the investment, especially in environments where safety and performance are critical.

At Apex Tempered Glass, we take pride in being manufacturers of laminated glass in Chicago. With our expertise and innovation, we can tailor laminated glass solutions to suit any project’s requirements. Whether for residential or commercial needs, we offer customized options and provide free quotes for all projects. Choose Apex for quality laminated glass solutions and enjoy peace of mind knowing your safety and security are in reliable hands. Reach out to our team for a fast quote today!

Nina Tsoy

Finance And Operations

Nina leads Apex Tempered Glass, a company specializing in manufacturing all types of glass. Known for her strategic expertise and exceptional operational performance, Nina is committed to providing innovative solutions for any glass-related issue.


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