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Glass Types

Annealed / Float

Float glass is made in flat sheets and is an alternative name for annealed glass. It takes its name from the float tank used in its production, into which molten glass flows at around 1100 degrees C and on to a large mass of molten tin. Because the tin is much heavier than glass and its surface is smooth and flat, the glass forms a very uniform layer on top of the tin.

The float process has virtually eliminated other production methods such as sheet or plate glass manufacture. Sheet glass, including the machine-drawn cylinder process simulating hand-blown glass, was known for its wavy irregularities. Plate lass, first introduced into the UK in the mid-seventeenth century, was cast and then polished flat.

Front entrance door with plate glass protected by 12mil Clear Security film. Frames are anchored with Dow Corning 995 structural adhesive.

Tempered Glass

Tempered (toughened) glass is many times stronger than annealed glass. When broken, it shatters into many small fragments, which prevent major injuries. This type of glass is intended for glass façades, sliding doors, building entrances, bath and shower enclosures and other uses requiring superior strength and safety properties.

There are two different methods used to produce tempered glass:

  •  HEAT TREATING: Where the annealed glass is subjected to a special heat treatment in which it is heated to about 680 degrees C and afterward cooled. If it is cooled rapidly, the glass is up to four times stronger than annealed glass, and it breaks into many small fragments (fully-tempered). If it is cooled slowly, the glass is twice as strong as annealed glass and the fragments of the broken glass are linear and more likely to remain in the frame.


  • CHEMICAL STRENGTHENING: The glass is covered by a chemical solution, which produces a higher mechanical resistance. Chemically strengthened glass has similar properties to thermal-treated glass. The product is not generally used for window glass, but more commonly seen in industries where thin, strong glass is needed.

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