It is most well known for its use in the automotive industry, although it is also used in a variety of applications which require stronger and safer glass than tempered glass.
Its ability to cohere after experiencing great force or breakage makes laminated glass an ideal choice for applications such as windshields, shower doors, cutting boards and windows in buildings needing extra protection like banks, airports and jewelry stores.
To make laminated glass, glass fabricators take sheets of annealed glass and layer them around a thin, flexible film of PVB or another binding layer. The layers are then sealed with pressurized rollers and heat which removes any air bubbles and forms the initial bonding.
The PVB needs to adhere to the glass layers on both sides to ensure that upon breakage the pieces of glass remain attached. The glass is then placed in an oil bath that chemically bonds the vinyl layer to the glass and further reinforces the panel. This added strength enables laminated glass to be used in jarring, high impact applications like windshields.
The process of fabricating laminated glass improves properties of strength, tensile capacity and impact resistance. Laminated glass can take up to ten times longer to break through than standard glass and in many cases cannot be penetrated without extreme force, or specialized glass cutting tools. As a security feature, laminated glass can be installed in cabinets or rooms protecting valuable items such as jewelry or art work.
It can also be used in buildings in areas likely to experience natural disasters such as earthquakes or tornadoes. Laminated glass can also provide UV protection or in cases of multiple layers, can be used as bulletproof glass in cars or building and due to the vinyl layer has increased sound dampening properties. For glass applications that have the potential to break in the vicinity of people and cause physical damage, laminated glass is a worthwhile investment.
Even after a sheet of laminated glass has been chipped, punctured or broken, it remains intact because of the vinyl layer. While tempered glass breaks into small rounded pieces and is often used for the side windows of cars and other windows, laminated glass is even safer and so is most often used for the windshields where the most impact resistance is required.