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What is laminated glass?

Laminated glass is a type of safety glass, composed of two or more glass sheets held together by a thin layer of glue called the interlayer.  If the glass is broken, this interlayer keeps the glass pieces in place to stop them from scattering.  The most familiar use of laminated glass is in automobile windshields, but it is also being used more and more in structural applications.  This increased popularity is a result of the additional safety that laminated glass offers, as well with its added sound-damping and UV-blocking properties. 

The most common interlayer, used in 90% of this instruction manual, is polyvinyl butyral or PVB.  However, specialty applications may require the use of other interlayers.  These include: DuPont™ SentryGlas®, or SGP (for use in hurricane glazing and bullet-resistant applications); ethylene vinyl acetate, or EVA (for use under very wet conditions such as in a swimming pool); and polyurethane, or TPU (for laminating plastics like polycarbonate or acrylic to glass).  These can be used to laminate glass but can also be costly, hard to cut, and they do not always dry as clear as the PVB.  The laminate can also come in different colors for specialty applications.  Below is a quick list of the laminate types and their qualities:

Polyvinyl Butyral, or PVB:  An industry standard for almost a century, PVB is the most common interlayer.  Its low cost and clear finish make it a first choice for most applications.  PVB is also offered in a variety of colors and thicknesses.

DuPont™ SentryGlas®, or SGP:  Found most commonly in hurricane glazing and bullet-resistant applications, SGP displays excellent impact resistance and post-breakage stability.  SGP is also known for its exposed-edge characteristics and ability to resist edge de-lamination after extensive weathering.

Ethylene Vinyl Acetate, or EVA: Known by laminators for the ease with which it can be handled, laminated, and stored EVA is ideal for laminating non-glass materials like metal and wood.  EVA is also used under very wet conditions, as in swimming pool or sauna.  EVA is significantly more expensive than PVB. 

Polyurethane, or TPU:  best used in glass-clad laminations for forced-entry and bullet-resistant applications.  TPU is used mainly for laminating plastics like polycarbonate or acrylic to glass.  PVB and SGP will not adhere to these materials. 

How do you make laminated glass?

Laminated glass is created through heat and pressure.  The heat and pressure can be applied to the glass in several different ways.  The most common method for large-scale production is the autoclave method.  This method uses an autoclave (a giant pressurized oven) to apply heat and pressure.  Autoclaves are extremely costly and complex, and should only be used in large-scale laminating facilities that produce large quantities of the same type of laminate.  The alternative, and the future of glass lamination, is the autoclave-free method

Always ahead of the curve and ever-cognizant of market trends, Tristar Glass has once again proven their industry dominance with the purchase of a Hoaf Autoclave-Free Laminating Line.  Having watched autoclave-free systems take Europe by storm over last 3 years, Tristar realized there was a huge opportunity to bring a diverse scalable laminated product to the Midwest.  Autoclave-free lamination offers three main advantages over an autoclave system that immediately benefit the consumer:

1.       Batch-style processing translates to an effortless transition between different laminating interlayers and glass types.  Make the laminate work for you by selecting the right laminate for the job.  With over a hundred different combinations of glass and laminates, Tristar will work with you to make sure you get the right look without compromising safety or durability.  Tristar can run multiple sizes and types of glass at once for a one-stop shop that covers all your laminate needs.

2.       Go green!  Large autoclaves require large amounts of steam and electricity to achieve adequate heat and pressure, and divide the laminating process into two energy-consuming steps: de-airing and heating.  By contrast, the Hoaf autoclave-free system uses low volumes of natural gas for heat and a small electric vacuum pump to de-air and apply pressure all in one step.   Hoaf also incorporates the Smart Blanket System (SBS) which uses reusable silicone vacuum blankets instead of disposable, petroleum-based, vacuum-bagging material.

3.       The entire system can be scaled to meet the growing demands of our customers.  As customers begin to fully realize the wonderful applications of laminated glass in terms of both safety and decoration, Tristar can easily grow to meet the needs of the customer without any down-time in production. 

What can I laminate between glass?

Almost anything that is flat and uniform can be laminated between two sheets of glass.  The laminate must be able to fill the voids between the object to be laminated and the glass itself, so the thicker the object to be laminated the more laminate interlayers required to fill the voids.

 If there is any question about whether an object can be laminated, please do not hesitate to call our sales team.

Why should I go with .060” interlayer for tempered glass?

When a piece of glass is tempered, the rollers in the tempering furnace distort the shape of the glass.  This distortion varies depending on the quality of the tempering furnace.  The laminate interlayer can only fill so much space between the two sheets of glass to be laminated.  If the distortion in the glass is greater than 10% of the laminate's thickness, than a defect known as roller wave will form.  To avoid this potential lack of laminate, 2 layers or 0.060” of interlayer are used.

What certifications, if any, are required for laminated glass?

Laminated glass is not required to have any certifications printed on the glass.  However, there are several certifications available that prove the quality of the product.  These are as follows:

·         American National Standard for Safety Glazing Materials used in buildings - Safety Performance Specifications and Methods of Test: ANSI Z97.1-2004


·         Consumer Products Safety Commission Safety Standard for Architectural Glazing Materials - codified at Title 16, Part 1201 of the Code of Federal Regulations: 16 CFR 1201

Both of these architectural safety standards are certified by the SGCC (Safety Glazing Certification Council)

                Certifications also exist for bullet-resistant glazing and forced-entry-resistant glazing.  There are 10 different certifications around the world for bullet resistant glass but the two most commonly used are UL 752 (American) and EN 1063 (European).  Forced-entry glazing falls under two common standards: ISO 16936-(1-4):2005 and UL 972.

                These certifications and others can be found in one of the corners of the pane in question.

Why doesn’t my warranty cover exposed edges?

PVB is susceptible to environmental weathering and can delaminate if exposed to harsh or wet climates for an extended period of time.  Even if the piece in question is located indoors, it still may be exposed to unknown cleaning chemicals that negatively affect the adhesion between the glass and the laminate.

                Because it is impossible to monitor a customer’s use of his or her glass, no warranty can be provided for exposed edge products.

                However, when it comes to exposed edge laminate, Sentry Glass Pro is hands-down the best.  Even though neither Tristar nor Dupont will put a warranty on exposed edge glass, they will both tell you that they have never seen a case of edge de-lamination when using SGP.

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