Glass Types

We give little thought to glass, probably because it is everywhere. When you start thinking about it, as the information below shows, there are many types of glass, many provided by the professional auto glass and window glass found on this site. Here are some of the common types of glass you might see around you:

  • Auto glass
  • Flat glass
  • Laminated safety glass
  • Decorative glass
  • Window Glass
  • Tempered safety glass
  • Bullet-resisting glass
  • Colored structural glass
  • Reflective architectural glass Mirror
  • Slumped glass Stained glass Glass blocks
  • Photochromic glass
  • Opal glass

Automotive glass or auto glass first became used for windshields in early cars. In some cases they were not installed on the original car but sold by independent companies as an add-on item. This was in the very early days of the auto industry. Over time the need for windshields and other automobile auto glass windows become clear and they were a standard item on cars, trucks and busses. Auto glass became a very large original equipment business and as you might imagine a large after-market business. One of the manufacturing developments in auto glass was the wrapped, wrap or wrap-around windshield and rear window of cars. This increases the ability of car manufacturers to improve the styling of automobiles. The original glass in automobiles was not what we no use in cars. It was not what is called shatter proof glass. Original glass, when an accident occurred could literally shatter into pieces of glass shards which would be flying missiles causing serious harm or death to passengers and even bystanders.

In the late 1920s laminated windshields were developed and became widely used. This glass was two pieces of ordinary glass with a thin layer of film between the two pieces. This think film would prevent the glass from shattering and turning into shards. Auto glass in the side windows and back windows is often tempered safety glass. Current production methods allow glass to be formed into many different shapes or contours and can still be tempered for passenger safety. Many glasses can also be tinted to reduce the impact sun on passengers greatly improving comfort.

Some auto glass is also what is referred to as solar passive and reduces the amount of heat gain within the passenger compartment. Your 1-888-GLASS-MAN™ local professional auto glass provider and installer can provide you with any type of auto glass for any type of vehicle.

Decorative glass is glass which is stained as explained below or engraved or treated in other ways to provide unusual decorative effects. For example glass is readily available with an antique look such as seedy glass and often used in the doors of kitchen cabinets or furniture pieces. Most 1-888-GLASS-MAN™ professionals can provide decorative glasses in a variety of very interested decorative finishes.

Flat glass is also most commonly used in windows and is thus also called window glass. Windows can be in operating window frames, fixed window frames or directly set into a window opening (called “direct set window”). Flat glass is also the type of glass used to make mirrors and room dividers. Flat glass is also used in furniture and various types of built-ins in homes, offices and other buildings.

Laminated safety glass is a “sandwich” made by combining alternate layers of flat glass and plastics. The outside layer of glass may break when struck by an object, but the plastic layer is elastic and so it stretches. The plastic holds the broken pieces of glass together and keeps them from flying in all directions. Laminated glass is used where broken glass might cause serious injuries, as in automobile windshields.

Bullet-resisting glass is thick, multilayer laminated glass. This glass can stop even heavy-caliber bullets at close range. Bullet-resisting glass is heavy enough to absorb the energy of the bullet, and the several plastic layers hold the shattered fragments together. Such glass is used in bank teller windows and in windshields for military tanks, aircraft, and special automobiles.

Tempered safety glass, unlike laminated glass, is a single piece that has been given a special heat treatment. It looks, feels, and weighs the same as ordinary glass. But it can be several times stronger. Tempered glass is used widely for all-glass doors in stores, side and rear windows of automobiles, and basketball backboards, and for other special purposes. It is hard to break even when hit with a hammer. When it does break, the whole piece of glass collapses into small, dull-edged fragments.

Colored structural glass is a heavy plate glass, available in many colors. It is used in buildings as an exterior facing, and for interior walls, partitions, and tabletops.

Opal glass has small particles in the body of the glass that disperse the light passing through it, making the glass appear milky. The ingredients necessary to produce opal glass include fluorides (chemical compounds containing fluorine). This glass is widely used in lighting fixtures and for tableware.

Glass Blocks are made from two hollow half-sections sealed together at a high temperature. Glass building blocks are good insulators against heat or cold because of the dead-air space inside. The blocks are laid like bricks to make walls and other structures.

Photochromic glass darkens when exposed to ultraviolet rays and clears up when the rays are removed. Photochromic glass is used for windows, sunglasses, and instrument controls.

Mirror and Mirrors are a single piece of glass with a silver or slivering backing. There are layers of copper and backing paint which are applied to protect the silvering. You can buy mirror in clear or plain color, tinted colors and bronzed. Mirror coming in practically any size, many thicknesses and can be decoratively edges for example with beveled or scalloped edge treatments. Mirrors are used throughout homes, offices, retail, commercial, industrial and public buildings. The use of mirrors is virtually unlimited.

Reflective architectural glass is glass which is coated during the production process to provide a pleasing exterior appearance and also to reduce the impact of the sun on the interior of the building. The glass reduces in exterior visibility into the building while and significantly reducing the view outside by people inside the building. It is a very common type of glass in buildings of all types.

Slumped glass or sagged glass is flat glass which is put through a secondary manufacturing process which changes the shape of the glass. The glass is heated in an oven or kiln while it is laying over a ceramic mold. As the glass becomes semi-molten it slumps over the mold beneath it. The glass is heated and cooled a number of times during the process. Glass could be slumped for something as simple as a glass plate or as difficult as a curved window for a building.

Stained glass (Art glass) is glass which is colored during the manufacturing process by the addition of different materials added to the glass. Over the centuries the term stained glass has often been thought of as church glass. Today stained glass works are created by hundreds of thousands of stained glass professionals and hobbyists throughout the World. And while traditionally it was used for windows it has gone from just being used in flat panels to many types of three dimensionally structures. Stained glass can also be used as simple sheet material depending on the application.

Glass is a solid that is amorphous, which means that it doesn’t have a set shape or form. Glass is usually brittle and transparent. The most commonly used glass is called soda-lime glass. Soda-lime glass is made of 75% silica, sodium oxide, calcium oxide, and many other chemicals and substances. A rather peculiar form of glass made from fused quartz is usually used for telescopes or mirrors surfaces. The reason the quartz glass isn’t as commonly used as soda-lime glass is because its melting point is over 2300 °C. Certain substances though can lower the melting point; sodium carbonate for example will lower it to 1,500 °C. The sodium does have negative effects though, by adding the sodium the glass becomes water soluble. This effect can be avoided by adding magnesium, lime, and/or aluminum to it. With all these chemicals combined the result is soda-lime glass. Glass has been being made by humans for more than 5,500 years, being traced all the way back to the ancient Mesopotamians.

There are many types of glass, but only a few are commonly used. To start simple the most common type of glass is simply called clear glass. Clear glass is glass that doesn’t contain any special reflective or strength properties. After clear glass there is translucent glass. Translucent glass is glass that lets light through but isn’t completely see through. Opaque glass is glass that isn’t see through at all, it doesn’t let light through and blocks light altogether. The next type of common glass is tinted glass. Tinted glass is usually made by placing a chemical in the glass during the glass making process. Tints come in many different colors, commonly blue, green, yellow, and black. Tinted glass is used in many different objects including sunglasses, car windows, and more. Tinted glass is generally used to prevent certain amounts of light from penetrating a room. Tinted glass also reduces glare, certain amounts of radiation, and even keep excessive amounts of heat from entering a room/car. Another important type of glass is called tempered glass. Tempered glass is a type of glass that is made by a process of rapid heating and cooling, through this process the glass becomes stronger than normal glass. Tempered glass also shatters in a way that makes it safer than normal glass, when it is broken it breaks into tiny salt-like pieces that make it less sharp and jagged than normal glass. Tempered glass is used in car windows and windshields. Tempered glass is also used in schools and commercial buildings to provide safety to the people in its environment.

Normal glass can be carved or shaped through many processes, two of which are called sand blasting and acid etching. Both acid etching and sand blasting are used to put patterns and textures into glass for decorative purposes. Patterned and textured glass are both used in many places, like in doors with window panes in them, glass cabinet doors, tabletops, and even shower doors. Patterned and textured glass can make a home look very elegant.

Finally there is plated glass. Plated glass is normal glass that has been flattened to work as a mirror, window, or shelve. The importance of plate glass is that because it is so smooth and flat it can be implemented to be a protective cover or a good surface for setting something on. Glass isn’t used just for windows, doors, windshields, or tabletops glass is also used for cups, bowls, doorknobs, even eyes. Glass is one of the greatest inventions of man, because of its unique qualities of transparency and durability, so it is best to know about glass before getting window replacements or auto glass for your car.