The spontaneous breaking and falling of window and balcony glass from tall buildings has been the subject of several highly publicized instances in the past few years. Even though the breaking of hurricane windows and impact doors in Fort Lauderdale are uncommon, the threat they pose has prompted government officials, architects, building code officers, and other professionals in related fields to reevaluate which types of glass should be applied where strength and pedestrian protection are of the utmost importance.
Reasons Why Glass Breaks
Center Tension Zone
Tempered glass was used entirely in the occurrences of spontaneous glass breaking. Despite being able to exceed safety glazing standards and an extremely high level of strength, that material is particularly prone to these kinds of failures. Ironically, the center tension zone that the quenching process creates in tempered glass makes it susceptible to catastrophic failure.
Edge Quality of the Glass
Spontaneous breakage of a door’s glass can have a variety of causes. The most frequent are nicks or chips to the edges of glass that happen during installation, shipping, or packaging, on site, or damage to the edges of glass that occurs as it is being pre-cut into panels. Stress concentrations around these flaws may develop even though such damage may not be immediately obvious when the glass expands. It also contracts in response to variations in building movement, wind load, in-service temperature, and other environmental conditions. The breaking of tempered glass may appear to have been spontaneous when, in reality, the conditions for failure had been set up months or even years earlier when those strains finally forced the glass to crack.
Another common type of what appears to be spontaneous failure is frame-related breakage, which can result from the contraction and expansion of glass framing parts. Such a mishap occurs when a metal window or curtain wall frame's gaskets, edge blocks, or setting blocks are absent or do not adequately protect the glass from glass-to-metal contact brought on by wind- or temperature-related movement.
This is another factor that contributes to spontaneous glass shattering. A positive temperature difference between the glass' edge and core, or that the latter is hotter than the former, is what causes thermally induced strains in the glass.
Get Impact Doors in Fort Lauderdale
With this said, tempered glass is not enough when you live in storm-prone areas. You have to get impact doors, specially designed to withstand flying debris to avoid spontaneous breakage. Call us!
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