Automotive glass is a type of processed float glass that has been chemically and thermally treated to make it stronger and more resilient. It is designed to withstand the bumps, rocks, and fender benders that cars encounter throughout their lifespan. Automotive glass includes windshields, side and rear windows, and roofs with glass panels. It is held in place by glass guide channels, which also serve to hold any glass fragments if the glass breaks.
The two main types of automotive glass are laminated glass and tempered glass. Laminated glass is used for windshields and provides safety and protection against road debris. Tempered glass is used for side and rear windows and is heat-treated to be harder than ordinary glass. This means it's harder to break, and when it does break, it breaks into thousands of blunt pieces to prevent serious injury in the event of an accident.
In 1909, Henry Ford offered his Model T with a windshield as an option. Nowadays, the windshield does much more than protect car occupants from the wind while they are on the move. Environmental, design, safety, and comfort factors are driving automotive glass technology. Major glass manufacturers are working on rain-repellent glazing, plastic glass, and “smart” glazing for sunroofs.
Laminated side glass is also an area of growth for both safety and security reasons, while heated front windshields are becoming increasingly common. The future of automotive glass looks even brighter. We can expect windshields to have all kinds of technical magic, allowing drivers to connect with toll collection devices, global positioning systems, and the Internet. Major glass manufacturers are also working on rain-repellent glazing, plastic glass, and “smart” glazing for sunroofs.