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Tempered Glass: A History

Tempered Glass: A History

If you have wondered why tempered glass is used when safety is a top priority, you are not alone. Tempered glass is chosen for shower doors, vehicle windshields, windows, and even cookware due to its increased strength and safety when compared to standard glass. Tempered glass reduces the risk of injury because it breaks into small, circular bits instead of the jagged pieces of regular glass, and it can be easily cleaned without the fear that it will break.

It is believed that tempered glass was initially created on accident when molten glass was dropped into icy water. Because the glass droplet cooled so quickly, it was stronger than when it was allowed to cool slowly over time. These teardrop-shaped glass pieces became known as Prince Rupert’s Drops and were regarded as a bit of a novelty item among the elite. If you hit the droplet on the bulb end, it would remain intact; however, if you hit it on the tail end, the whole droplet would shatter into little nuggets of glass.

The modern-day tempered glass is toughened in the same way as the old Prince Rupert’s Drops. The glass goes first through the molten stage followed by the chilling stage. The extreme temperatures create a type of glass that, when broken, will crumble into small, round pieces instead of large, sharp shards.

Tempered glass is also more durable and has a higher heat resistance than regular glass due to its special manufacturing process. You might not think it, but the tempering process still preserves the integrity of the original glass. For instance, if the original glass was brilliantly clear, it will remain just as clear after tempering. If the glass is etched, frosted, or tinted, it will stay the same after being tempered. Additionally, the strength of a sheet of tempered glass is also determined by its thickness. This means that the thicker the tempered glass is, the more durable it becomes.

Tempered glass today is used for a number of applications, including automotive glass, home appliances, and solar panels. It’s also commonly used for tempered glass screen protectors for electronic devices, including smartphones, tablets and more. Because of its ability to resist scratches and impact, it keeps your devices safe and functioning well, in spite of inevitable drops and dings.