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Guaranteeing (as much as is it physically possible to do) the safety of passengers travelling in automobiles is one of the greatest assets that an automobile company can possess. Obviously, safety is not only the responsibility of the manufacturer, but also the road user. But, if the manufacturer can provide safety levels above and beyond what is standard, then it will do well in the marketplace.
There are many ways of ensuring safety in automobiles and certain standards need to be adhered to, so that the automobile is safe overall. Whilst there are many ways of meeting the necessary requirements, there are also many ways of enhancing the safety of the automobile. One area to easily enhance the safety of an automobile is in the windshield. This can easily be done by replacing the single pane windshield with a dual-pane laminated glass windshield. In this article we look at how laminated glass windshields offer distinct advantages towards passenger safety.
What is Passenger Safety to the Automotive Industry?
Passenger safety is everything. If a manufacturer is known for being unsafe, then it won’t be in the competitive automotive market for long. Whilst there are many human decisions that can compromise the safety of a vehicle, safety should primarily start with the actual vehicle itself. Whether this comes from the manufacturer, or as a modification by the owner, the safety of the passengers is one of the most crucial aspects for many people in the automotive industry.
What is Laminated Glass?
Laminated glass for windshields, is what double glazing is to a property – although it has many more benefits. Standard windshields are only one pane thick. By comparison, laminated glass is two panes thick and the panes are separated by a soft polymer interlayer material with a high tensile strength. Laminated glass is therefore seen as a type of high strength safety glass in the automotive and other industries. Both strength and a resistance to shattering are key properties of laminated glass and it is primarily these that aid in increasing the safety of any passengers travelling in an automobile.
How Laminated Glass Can Increase Passenger Safety
The energy of an impact can be significantly reduced using laminated glass instead of single pane glass in the windshield. If an automobile is involved with a front-on collision, be it with another vehicle or inanimate object, the energy of the impact can resonate through the vehicle and cause damage to the windshield.
By shifting from single pane to laminated glass, the energy involved in the impact can be reduced at least two-fold. This arises because of the efficient combination of strength, tensile strength and thickness from the two layers of glass and interlayer material. Even if the laminated glass fractures on impact, it is unlikely that the passengers will be met with airborne glass fragments.
Another safety feature of laminated glass is in its protection from projectiles. Projectiles can be any material that is either kicked up of the ground by the car (such as grit or stone chips) or any airborne object from a non-driving source. The inability of laminated glass to shatter is an excellent property against projectiles.
On occasion, projectiles can pierce through the windshield. Not only does the projectile enter where the passengers are (which is dangerous in itself, if it is an unknown object), but it also brings glass fragments with it. Laminated glass not only prevents (in most cases) the projectile from entering the automobile, but it also prevents glass fragments from entering the interior of vehicle, because the fragments become locked in place by the two glass panes and the high tensile strength of the interlayer.
Fire resistance is another beneficial property of laminated glass. Whilst it is not useful for the average driver, it is useful for automobiles that enter potentially hostile zones, and zones where fire-based projectiles could be launched. As such, it is a much better feature for military, police, or even government vehicles, but it is still worth mentioning.
“Investigation of impact fracture behavior of automobile laminated glass by 3D discrete element method”- Zang M. Y., et al, Comput. Mech. 2007, DOI:10.1007/s00466-007-0170-1
“Blast and Impact Resistance of Laminated Glass Structures”- Hooper P., et al, Proceedings of the IMPLAST 2010 Conference, 2010
Lund University: http://www.byggmek.lth.se/fileadmin/byggnadsmekanik/publications/tvsm5000/web5198.pdf