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Glass is shining

Written by  Author |   Mon, 20 January 2014 10:10


Without glass, modern buildings wouldn't be possible; views, natural light and the warmth of the sun would only exist in nature for people living in buildings and denied the use of glass.

Glass has transformed the way in which the world builds and lives. Actually, glass strongly influences modern architectural design. The creative use of large windows, glass doors, rooflights, and atria, among many other applications, makes buildings and houses bright, airy, inviting and energy efficient.

The Middle East region is currently poised for growth in the construction and infrastructure sectors, and along with it the glass market. Qatar's glass industry is bracing for an unprecedented growth as the country's construction industry to witness an unparalleled growth rate with around $150 billion worth of projects in the pipeline.



It's worth to mention that the global glass industry generates about $75 billion in annual revenue. Top exporters include Belgium, China, France, Germany, Japan, and the US. World demand for flat glass is forecast to rise 7.1 percent per year through 2016 to 9.2 billion m2.

What is glass?
Glass is a solid-like and transparent material that is used in numerous applications in our daily lives. Glass is made from natural and abundant raw materials (sand, soda ash and limestone) that are melted at very high temperature to form a new material: glass.

At high temperatures, glass is structurally similar to liquids, however at ambient temperature it behaves like solids. As a result, glass can be poured, blown, pressed and molded.

Glass manufacturing has an age-old tradition which dates back to around 3500 BC when glass is believed to have been first artificially produced in Egypt and Mesopotamia to be used as jewelry and later as vessels. Since then, processes have constantly evolved to today's high-tech industrial processes and the number of glass types and applications has multiplied.



Uses and applications
The main uses of glass in buildings and houses are, of course, the most obvious and visible ones: facades and windows. Today's glass products for commercial and residential buildings represent highly developed technologies, nothing like the simple window panes of the past. Light, comfort, well-being, style, safety and security, and sustainability are among the benefits of today's high-performing windows and glass building facades. The ability to control heat, light, and sound transmission to a high degree enables architects to design buildings that have a greatly reduced impact on the environment and dwellings that are quiet, comfortable and safe. Glass also finds application in interior decoration and furniture.

Glass in residential houses
Glass proves to be a very attractive and modern alternative to other building materials, such as brick, polycarbonate, or wood. The more glass is used, the more natural light enters the home. This makes the home even more pleasant and comfortable, and, with today's high-tech glass options, this can come at no cost to security, safety, or environmental sustainability.

Glass in commercial buildings
Today's glass technologies allow large commercial buildings to be energy efficient structures that make the most of natural daylight while protecting the environment and the climate and conserving energy.

Interior design
Glass offers dynamic interior design solutions that can maximize the impression of light and space, and add color and movement to a room. High glass strength, made possible by modern glass technology, extends the range of applications of this attractive material beyond the merely decorative, to functional and even structural roles.

Main types of glass
Today, flat glass comes in many highly specialized forms intended for different products and applications. Flat glass produced by way of the float process is often further processed to give it certain qualities or specificities. In this way, the industry can meet the various requirements and needs of the construction, automotive and solar energy industries.

Annealed glass
Annealed glass is the basic flat glass product that is the first result of the float process. It is common glass that tends to break into large, jagged shards. It is used in some end products and often in double-glazed windows. It is also the starting material used to produce more advanced products through further processing such as laminating, toughening, coating, and others.

Toughened glass
Toughened glass is made from annealed glass treated with a thermal tempering process. Toughened glass has extremely broad applications in products for both buildings and automobiles as well as in other areas. Car windshields and windows, glass portions of building facades, glass sliding doors and partitions in houses and offices, glass furniture such as table tops, and many other products typically use toughened glass. 

Laminated glass
Laminated glass is made of two or more layers of glass with one or more "interlayers" of polymeric material bonded between the glass layers. Laminated glass offers many advantages. Safety and security are the best known of these, so rather than shattering on impact, laminated glass is held together by the interlayer. Laminated glass is used extensively in building and housing products and in the automotive and transport industries. Most building facades and most car windscreens, for example, are made with laminated glass, usually with other technologies also incorporated.

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October / 10 / 2014
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