Tempered glass is stronger than most other types of glass and is used when human safety is a concern. It gets its strength from an intense heat and cooling treatment, and it is, therefore, resistant to heat and breakage. If it does break, it shatters into small pieces that are less likely to cause injury. Read on to see just how the tempered glass used for showers and sliding doors in Boca Raton is made.
Before the tempering process can begin, the glass must be cut to its desired size and shape. If any adjustments, such as etching, are made after the glass is treated, it could cause product failure or reduce the strength of the glass. The glass piece is then inspected for any possible points of breakage. Then an abrasive, such as a sander, is used to take the rough or sharp edges off and smooth down any imperfections. The glass piece is then rinsed off and ready for tempering.
The heat treatment involves a tempering oven, through which the piece of glass will travel in batches or continuously. The oven will heat the glass to more than 600 degrees Celsius. Then the glass goes through a seconds-long, high-pressure cooling treatment called quenching. This cooling process cools the edges and outer surfaces of the glass more quickly than it does the center. As the center of the glass piece cools, it attempts to pull back from the outer edges. This causes the center to go into tension and the outer surfaces to go into compression, which gives tempered glass its strength.
Some glassmakers will use a process of chemical tempering. This process includes various chemicals exchanging ions on the surface of the glass, which causes compression. However, this process does not create the same strength that heating and quenching does. The process can also be more costly, and it is therefore not widely used.