What Is Toughened Glass?

June 28, 2022

Toughened glass, otherwise known as safety glass, is glass that is significantly stronger than regular glass and is up to five times stronger than non-toughened glass. At TuffX, we are glass specialists. We manufacture top-quality glass and install beautiful and creative glass installations, such as walk-on glass floors and rooflights. If you are interested in toughened glass, either for commercial or residential purposes, then we are the best choice for you. In this blog post, we will answer one of our most commonly asked questions: ‘what is toughened glass?’ We hope this helps!

How Is Toughened Glass Made?

There are different methods of making toughened glass, these are the most popular two ways: 

Tempering Glass with Different Heats

Tempering glass with hot and cold temperatures is the most popular method of manufacturing toughened glass. Firstly, the edges of the glass are polished to remove all uneven edges. Then the regular glass is heated up to between 620°C and 650°C and the heat is followed by spraying jets of freezing cold air. Therefore compressing the glass. This makes the glass extremely tough, and up to 500% more resistant to damage from heat, shock or pressure. Due to the strength of toughened glass, it cannot be recut afterwards. 

An interesting fact about toughened glass is that it is designed to shatter into small glass shards if broken, and this makes it significantly safer than regular glass as it limits the damage caused to people and the surroundings. 

Tempering Glass with Chemicals

Another, less popular method to make toughened glass is by using chemicals. Regular glass is put into a pool of potassium salt and heated to 300°C. The potassium ions replace the sodium ions due to the difference in size (potassium ions are around 30% larger). This results in the glass becoming compressed and building tension, therefore making toughened glass that is very strong. 

Benefits Of Toughened Glass

  • Strength: Toughened glass is up to 5 times stronger than regular glass, which makes it safer and more durable. Therefore, lasting you for years longer, and giving it the ability to last through harsh conditions! Also, it is worth noting that the tempering process does not affect the appearance of the glass.
  • Heat: This type of glass works well in any environment. Whether the heat is up to 250°C or freezing cold temperatures. Regular glass can only withstand up to 40°C.
  • Safety: Despite being very difficult to break, if the worst-case scenario does occur, it breaks into small glass shards that will not cause serious injuries to the people nearby.
  • Resistance: Toughened glass is resistant to electricity and thermal shocks.
  • Longevity: This type of glass will last year for many years, and it does not have to be replaced often. Making it a long-term investment. 
  • UV Protection: Toughened glass catches 65% of harmful sun rays, which makes it ideal for residential settings. Embrace natural light without the dangers attached. 

Toughened Glass Common Uses

Toughened glass and variations of it are used in both commercial and residential settings for a whole host of aesthetic and practical purposes. You can read about some of TuffX’s commercial installations here, we have worked on projects with Liverpool Central Library, Edinburgh Zoo’s tiger exhibit and The Shard! Here are some of the most common uses below: 

Glass Balustrades

Glass balustrades offer a visually stunning and practical purpose for both commercial (e.g. education settings or shops) and residential (e.g. patios or balconies). The glass allows for natural light to shine through and makes the area more visually pleasing and efficient, as well as creating the illusion of more space. Toughened glass is ideal for this type of installation as it is extremely secure, and if it breaks it will not cause serious injuries or damage. 

Roof Lights

Roof lights are a beautiful way to introduce more natural light into any setting, particularly for dimly lit rooms in your home. This type of window adds value to your home and allows you to reap the benefits of natural light. Toughened glass is used for this type of installation as it can withstand any conditions, and ensures safety. 

Pond Glass

Toughened glass is the ideal type of glass for ponds in gardens. It allows you to see into the pond more clearly and from a different angle. It provides a luxurious and appealing centrepiece in home gardens, as well as in commercial settings. Toughened glass is used due to its ability to withstand the pressure of the water, and it can keep both people and the fish safe if something falls onto the glass. Check out TuffX’s page about pond glass here

Toughened Glass Vs Tempered Glass: What’s The Difference?

Toughened glass and tempered glass are practically the same types of glass. Both types of glass are extremely strong, safe and durable. Additionally, both types of glass can be used for the same purposes in commercial and residential settings. 

Another type of strong glass is toughened laminated glass, which undergoes a laminating process. This means that a layer is placed between two pieces of toughened glass. The purpose of this is that if the glass were to break, the middle layer will hold the glass together and it will not break.

Toughened laminated glass is ideal for commercial settings, such as for the front of stores or doors, as it is extremely secure but still provides the same aesthetic quality as regular glass.