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Glass in buildings

A glass is an ancient building material, which facilitated penetration of light into buildings. Once it was used exclusively for window panels, whereas nowadays there are examples of structures made of glass only. Apart from the traditional non-bearing application in engineering, it is progressively used for the construction of bearing elements. The progressively stricter regulations dealing with an energy efficiency of the buildings give rise to the application of special characteristics glass of high performance, but also to the more intensive research in this field. The adequate choice of the glass type can to a great extent improve the energy efficiency of the building.
The following are specialized glass types that are made with different qualities to enhance their performance

Laminated glass involves sandwiching a transparent sheet of polymer,
such as polyvinyl butyral, between two or more layers of flat glass using an adhesive. Because it can prevent the fall-out of dangerous glass shards following fracture, it is often used as safety glazing and as overhead glazing in skylights. It is a durable and versatile glass with plastic interlayer which provides protection from ultraviolet rays and attenuates vibration and gives laminated glass good acoustical characteristics. Can be used in a variety of environments.

Insulating glass consists of two or more lights of glass separated by a hermetically sealed space for thermal insulation and condensation control. The airspace between the glass lights can be filled during the manufacturing process with either dry air or a low-conductivity gas, such as sulfur hexafluoride or argon. The thermal performance of double-glazed or triple-glazed windows can be further improved by the addition of a low-emissivity coating on one or all of the layers of glass. The airspace also reduces heat gain and loss, as well as sound transmission, which gives the insulating glass superior thermal performance and acoustical characteristics compared to single glazing.Most commercial windows, curtain walls, and skylights contain insulating glass.

Coated glass is covered with reflective or low-emissivity (low-E) coatings. In addition to providing aesthetic appeal, the coatings improve the thermal performance of the glass by reflecting visible light and infrared radiation.

Tinted glass contains minerals that color the glass uniformly through its thickness and promote absorption of visible light and infrared radiation.

Wire glass involves steel wires rolled into sheets of glass. A wire mesh is inserted during the manufacturing of plate glass, allowing the glass to adhere together when cracked. It can qualify as safety glass for some applications.

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