Curved glass, also known as bent glass is used extensively in automobile and architectural designs. It’s widely popular for its sleek appearance and great aesthetic appeal. It may look simple but manufacturing this glass is difficult as it requires skill, precision and patience. Glass manufacturers create it through a heating and cooling process and then do a quality check before selling it. To learn in detail about this special glass type, keep reading our post.
How Is Curved Glass Made?
The manufacturing process of this glass is time-consuming which is why it is expensive. Like other glass, the process of creating it also begins with flat plate glass. Before the manufacturing begins, a few measurements are made like the average dimension of a windscreen or the size of a partition. A steel mould is created based on these measurements, then shaped according to the curve radius and dimensions of the end product.
The flat glass is cut into the desired size but after cleaning and polishing it thoroughly. This is important because any dirt particle can cause the glass to shatter during the bending process. A UV light is shone over the glass which helps in spotting dust or dirt for removal before the next step.
A mixture of clay, calcium carbonate and detergent are painted onto the glass to prevent it from sticking to the steel mould during the heating process. The steel mould is pre-warmed at four hundred and eighty degree Celsius (approximately) as it heats at a slower rate than the glass. After the heating, the glass is placed onto the mould and loaded into the furnace (kiln).
The temperature of the furnace is usually kept at a higher level like up to seven hundred degree Celsius. This loosens the bonds between the glass’s silica molecules to ensure that it softens and bends according to the shape of the mould. Shaping it is done through a mechanical bending process or gravity.
At the bending process, the temperature inside the furnace is carefully controlled so the glass doesn’t bend unevenly. Once it takes the mould shape, it is cooled for hours to prevent it from cracking. After this, the bent glass can be used for a variety of applications.
What Are the Different Types of Curved Glass?
Curved glass is available in three main types and they are:
Annealed glass is not strengthened by heat rather it is manufactured by controlled cooling to prevent residual stress. This is a high-quality glass sheet with good optical clarity and can be bent, cut, drilled, edged and polished.
As this glass is thermally tempered that’s why it is stronger than annealed glass. It is safe because it generally resists impact and if it breaks then it shatters into small cubes. It is made from the annealed glass which is heated to six hundred degree Celsius and then rapidly cooled. This creates internal stress on the glass that increases its strength. But after the glass is toughened, it cannot be altered, cut or sandblasted further.
The laminated glass contains two glass panes that are bonded together with an inter-layer of polyvinylbutyral (PVB). This glass is extremely safe because when it breaks, there are no sharp shards as any broken shards remain stuck to the inter-layer. This is the reason why the automobile industry depends heavily on this glass type for manufacturing windscreens, back-lights and more.
Hope this post helped you learn about curved glass that serves as an essential construction material in the automobile industry. Do leave a comment to share your feedback and stay hooked for more of such informative posts from our car glass experts.