You’ve likely seen a smashed windshield before, or at least a picture of one. These heavily damaged windshields have a very appearance of dense cracks radiating through the entire windshield. Why don’t they just shatter into a million pieces? Modern windshields are laminated glass, a special type of glass made specifically for windshields.
What Exactly is Laminated Glass?
The word laminated means just the same thing as it does for your laminate floors. Laminated glass contains a layer of vinyl. The layer polyvinyl butyral, or PVB, is between the two separate glass layers of your windshield. The layers are bonded by heat and pressure during manufacturing, creating a strong adhesion. The hydrogen bonds between the vinyl and the glass are powerful and span the entire surface area.
Why It Is Used in Windshields?
Using regular window glass for a windshield would be a disaster, as every single collision would shower the occupants of the car with jagged glass shards. The vinyl layer in a laminated glass holds the broken pieces of glass together. While the glass layer is now in pieces, each piece remains bonded to the vinyl layer. This massive improvement to safety more than justifies the cost of large sheets of laminate glass for commercial windshield replacement and RV windshield replacement.
Laminated Glass and Airbags
Your windshield plays a big part in the way your airbags deploy. Driver side airbags typically deploy from the steering wheel, taking a very direct route. The passenger airbag deploys from the dash and doesn’t have a straight path to the seat’s occupant. These airbags rely on the windshield to redirect them. Airbags deploy with incredible speed and force. The strength of laminated glass is what makes this process possible.
Other Benefits of Laminated Glass
The vinyl layer of your windshield does more than just absorb energy during collisions. In addition, this layer deflects ultraviolet light, keeping passengers inside safe from these harmful rays. The deflection can be as high as 95 percent for some windshields. This type of glass also provides protection from foreign objects flying through the windshield. In conclusion, these protections might make your car windshield replacement or truck windshield replacement more expensive, but they’re well worth it.