Structural glazing is a seamless looking glass wall that is nevertheless securely bonded to an aluminium frame. It is perfect for creating a strong, continuous transparent wall to an edifice such as an office that is attractive as well as robust and great for insulation.
Structural glazing is almost always made from very durable silicone. On average, it will offer two decades of the highest level of durability, before you need to even think about replacing or repairing it. The silicone glazing itself is very weatherproof, and the use of silicone seals around the edges of each piece of structural glazing helps to make it totally weather resistant and designed to be exposed to the elements. Structural glazing can withstand event extreme weather events such as hurricanes, thanks to its superb resilience as it is constructed from several glass panes ‘sandwiched’ together. When a piece of structural glass manufactured well, temperature differentials between panes will be reduced so that inner panes will not warm or cool more quickly than outer panes. This ensures that the glass does not experience stress during changes from hot to cold weather and vice versa. Thermally efficient glazing also ensures that the inhabitants or employees within the building are under optimal temperature conditions. Keeping the interiors of the building well insulated will eliminate condensation on structural glass (it is important to remember that the formation of condensation is a by product of structural glazing’s excellent thermal resilience rather than a sign of any defect in the glass itself) – though this is rarely a big issue.
Security and safety
When compared to untoughened glass, and to classic annealed float glass, structural glazing comes out on top. Structural silicone is toughened before installation, making it between 4 and 5 times stronger than the mentioned above ‘traditional’ types of glass. The toughening is usually performed by heating the piece of glass up to over 700 degrees centigrade (higher than glass’s melting point) and then cooling it rapidly in such a way that the two outer layers cool before the inner layer. The method used allows it to withstand radical changes in temperature and mechanical stress.
Thermal insulation and solar control
Structural glazing offers great insulating properties due to its minimal contact with metal elements of the building’s design. Other types of glass walls are typically screwed into a series of smaller panels to a metal frame and this abundance of conductive metal creates a ‘thermal bridge’ which allows heat to escape the building much more quickly. With structural glazing, only a minimal metal framework is required and as a result, the excellent insulating properties of structural silicone help to lock heat in the building. Additionally, The last thing that a building’s inhabitants need is to be dazzled by the sun, or bothered by solar glare and reflections when they want to look out of the windows. Already offering absolute transparency in and of itself, structural silicone can also easily be treated with anti-glare and anti-dazzle coatings to help ease the amount of glare.
Structural glazing is superior to other glass-based solutions for both domestic and commercial buildings while being wonderfully weatherproof, transparent and offering superb insulation and solar control, which makes it a practical choice. Moreover, it is robust and safe even under unusually high levels of mechanical stress and able to last for at least two decades. Combine these with its aesthetically appealing modern styles, and it is clear that it should be the go to choice for architects all over the world.