Glass: How clear is that?

Rajib Sarkar, deputy VP, central procurement, Lodha Developers, believes that glass has emerged as a top favourite in commercial buildings

Rajib Sarkar, Lodha Developers, Glass, Commercial buildings

Glass is an aesthetic, adaptable, versatile, economically viable and eco-friendly material. It helps in achieving possibilities in architecture and design that only few materials can. The applications and uses of glass are breath taking. From entire facades to doors and windows, from floors, walkways and staircases to domes, canopies and skylights, from partitions and enclosures to shelves, table tops and countertops, glass is the one material with which you can see more and do more. Glass has emerged as one of the favoured materials in achieving and bringing to life one’s dream of a well-designed home, office or a commercial space.

With the increasing global population and demand for accommodation, availability of space naturally has become an issue. Due to high land prices, construction costs and unavailability of land, people opt for high rise buildings. The demand for skyscrapers is certainly growing since they are efficient with respect to land use, serve many people simultaneously from single set of infrastructure and service and provide more space.

Glass is an essential part of design of a tall building in modern day architecture. Apart from its aesthetical value, glass facades in a building’s exteriors provide lot of functional benefits like acoustic, solar control, energy efficiency, safety & security, etc.  These benefits can be achieved with use of combination of high performance glasses like solar control, solar control low-e, solar control double low-e, etc.

Energy efficient solutions
High Performance Glasses - A metallic coating is applied to one side of the glass in order to significantly increase the ability of the glass to reflect both the visible and infra-red (light and heat) range of the electromagnetic spectrum.  Reflective glass, also known as Solar Control Glass reduces heat gain and glare from the exterior and allows optimum visible light transmission to the interior. It facilitates energy savings through reduction in interior solar heat gain and cost reduction for heating and cooling systems. It also improves occupants’ comfort as interior temperature variations are less and easier to control and it also reduces the air- conditioning load of the buildings.

Solar control glasses while used in a DGU (double glazed unit or insulated glass unit), with a combination of low-e glasses can be an ideal solution because of their solar and thermal insulation parameters.

Processed Glass Solutions
Tempered/Toughened Glass - Glass is strong to compressive forces and weak against tensile stresses. Toughening is a process which makes the glass invulnerable to tensile stresses too, by imparting strength to the glass that makes it 4~5 times stronger than normal annealed glasses. The process involves slow heating the glass in tempering furnaces, up to around 680 deg Celsius, which happens to be the softening point of glass and then rapidly cooling it by blowing air on either side at room temperature. This causes the surface of the glass to harden. A stable compressive stress layer is formed which makes the glass nearly unbreakable and 4~5 times stronger than normal annealed glasses. In the event of breakage, tempered glass breaks into small, relatively blunt glass fragments.

Laminated Glass - Laminated glass is safety glass that has been manufactured by adhering two or more sheets of glass together with a flexible PVB interlayer. The bond between the glass and interlayer can absorb accidental human impact. Even if the glass breaks, the fragments adhere to the interlayer thus minimizing injury. Laminated glass offers greater protection for people and property by providing an effective barrier when under attack. Also, laminated glasses have excellent sound insulation properties.

Value added glass solutions
Fire resistant glass - Fire resistant building materials including glass are very important part of overall building design which ensures safety in case of fire, seamless execution of evacuation plan and minimizing the loss of life and property. Hence it is very important to adopt the right Fire Protection Systems while working on the building design.

A high-end Fire Resistant Glass is specially engineered to withstand extreme levels of heat, restrict heat transfer and prevent passage of smoke and flames. In the event of fire, the interlayers expand and transform themselves into a rigid, opaque and heat-absorbing fire shield. In fact, it can easily replace a brick wall in terms of fire-rating property; at the same time provide clear vision of the other side.
It is the perfect solution for architects, builders and interior design experts to design modern building spaces in a manner to contain damage due to an unfortunate occurrence of fire. Fire resistant glasses are well-suited for hospitals, hotels, public buildings, schools, shopping malls, airports, theatres, parks, ships, and railways, as well as for industrial uses like machines, crane cabins, etc. It finds application as doors and windows, partitions, roofs, smoke screens, etc.

Bullet-resistant glass is a type of strong but optically transparent material that is particularly resistant to being penetrated when struck. However, they are not completely impenetrable.

Glass is classified as bullet resistant (BR 1 to BR 7) when it stops the penetration of projectiles in accordance with EN 1063. The testing procedure requires that the test specimen be shot at 3 times with the appropriate weapon and calibre bullet. The test specimen must withstand the attack. The test not only determines the resistance class but also whether or not there has been splintering on the inner face.

Smart glass solutions 
Glass can provide smart privacy solution combined with technology. A smart glass gives the flexibility to switch at the click of a button.  It gives the power to control transparency and privacy as per your convenience.

The principle behind smart privacy solutions is a PDLC (Polymer Dispersed Liquid Crystal) technology. There is a smart film between the two Special Polymer films. The Smart Film is a suspension of liquid crystals in a polymer base that can be controlled using an electric charge. Under normal conditions, the liquid crystals are randomly distributed and when the light hits the glass, it is scattered by the liquid crystals. When an electric current is passed through the glass pane, the liquid crystals align themselves into straight lines allowing all the light to pass through without scattering.

Available for both residential and commercial use, this privacy solution is a smart choice and package of sophistication with comfort and luxury for smart spaces.

Integrated Blinds is a product that allows blinds to be fitted between a pair of glass panes.

This ensures durability and adds aesthetic value. Over the years, the application of glass has turned out to be more compelling and remarkable due to advancement in innovation. Today glass also provides privacy in your home, which was unimaginable a few years back.

Integrated glass blinds is a result of front-line innovation. This innovative solution allows the occupant to control the visibility of the space with the help of a remote control. Vertical window blinds have various features including protection from harsh rays of the sun, privacy, and transparency. These vertical blinds are regulated by two strong magnets which allow the user to turn the blinds on or off. The technology is suitable for specific glass applications like double glazing units and gives an ideal solution for conservatory shading.

There are a lot of innovations being made and new products being introduced. Self-cleaning glass is a new innovation. The field of self-cleaning coatings on glass is divided into two categories: hydrophobic and hydrophilic. These two types of coating both clean themselves through the action of water, the former by rolling droplets and the latter by sheeting water that carries away dirt. Hydrophilic coatings based on titania (titanium dioxide), however, have an additional property - they can chemically break down absorbed dirt in sunlight.

State-of-the-art technologies for value addition on glass have made possible new types and varieties of glasses that enable the perfect blending of function and aesthetics.  Across residential and commercial buildings, builders are offering customers the opportunity to explore a more eco-friendly way of life; a life that’s smart, efficient and above all, sustainable.

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