Architectural Record BE - Building Enclosure

Strengthening the Performance of Laminated Glass

Structural interlayers add protection against hurricane and blast forces
This course is no longer active
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Advertorial course provided by DuPont Glass Laminating Solutions, E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company
Continuing Education

Learning Objectives - After this course, you should be able to:

  1. Understand the development and strength performance of laminated glass.
  2. Identify the advantages of advanced polymer interlayers in laminated glass.
  3. Gain a perspective on the varied applications where laminated glass with advanced polymer interlayers can be used, for protection against natural and man-made disasters.



Technological advances in the polymer "interlayer" in laminated glass panels-the material that bonds sheets of glass together and then is sealed tight in the fabrication process-have enhanced strength, safety and security performance, and allowed design professionals to use laminated glass in many new applications.

Over the last several decades, the most common interlayer material has been polyvinyl butyral, or PVB, a plasticized film that is sealed under heat and pressure to form a cohesive laminated glass panel. The best-known safety application is the automotive windshield. The chief advantage is that when laminated glass made with PVB interlayer breaks, the glass fragments adhere to the interlayer, greatly reducing the risk of cutting and piercing injuries.

But PVB's limitations include reduced strength under some design conditions and restricted high-temperature structural performance, especially after glass breakage has occurred. So scientists have developed a new, advanced polymer interlayer, that increases strength in laminated glass panels to such a degree that they can be used without conventional supports and in a wide variety of new applications, including glass stairs, floors, canopies, and curtain walls.

Yorkdale Mall skylight closeup
Photo credit: Barbara Stoneham, MMC International Architects

The new, advanced polymer interlayer-also referred to as a structural interlayer, because its properties impact structural performance-is sufficiently strong that the laminated glass panels can be thinner and structurally more efficient, and the glass also maintains transparency and remains clear. The construction is more resistant to moisture penetration and is compatible with most silicone sealants.

The advances have opened up new possibilities for professionals expanding the use of laminated glass in cutting-edge design, while at the same time improving safety performance in this age of monster storms and international terrorism.


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Originally published in Architectural Record.