Last edited 17 Jun 2020

Wired glass

Glass is made from liquid sand in the form of an amorphous (non-crystalline) solid that displays a glass transition near its melting point at around 1,700°C (3,090°F). It is typically transparent or translucent, and its most common form is silicate glass, which consists mainly of silica or silicon dioxide (SiO2).

Glass is a very commonly used material because, whilst still molten, it can be manipulated into forms suitable for a very wide range of uses, from packaging and household objects to car windscreens, building windows, and so on. There are many different types of glass, depending on the use required.

Wired glass (sometimes referred to as Georgian wired glass or GW glass) was invented by Frank Shuman in 1982. It has a wire mesh embedded within it during the manufacturing process and the glass is generally obscured (it has a visually distorting rolled surface pattern). The wire mesh does not improve its impact resistance, but it ensures that if the glass breaks, the broken pieces are retained by the wire mesh and do not fall out, which could create a hazard. It can also ensure glazing retains its overall shape, continuing to form a barrier even though it has broken.

Wired glass typically has a grid size of around 12.5mm and is used as a low-cost fire resistant glass in which the wire holds the glass in place if high temperature causes it to break. It can also be used for security reasons, or in areas where impact is likely and it is commonly found in doors and windows.

Wired glass is less visually attractive and not as strong as laminated glass or toughened glass. There have also been safety concerns in relation to wired glass, as the shards of glass remain in place after breakage, which can cause injury. Alternatives include glass reinforced by a polycarbonate mesh which is lighter, easier to cut and more difficult to break.

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