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Windshields 101: What Makes Windshields Special

Windshields are possibly the most frequent glass we see, but the least we think about! If you’ve ever wondered what they are made of, how they shatter or how they are made, keep on reading! Windshields are more interesting than you may think.

What windshields are made of:

Automobile glass is made of safety glass to protect the passengers as much as possible. If the windshield breaks, the lamination within the glass prevents the glass from shattering violently into many pieces. The laminated glass is made up of two types of glass, with a small layer of vinyl to separate the two. If the windshield is struck by something like a small rock or hail, usually only a small piece of the outer layer of glass is affected.

How windshields break:

There are many different types of glass cracks, and the way they crack depends on what they were struck with. Generally windshields crack due to weather related incidents or while driving. Once the area is damaged, the crack will often spread in the same direction it initially began. To prevent your windshield from cracking, park your car in a garage or weather-controlled environment. The edges of the windshield tend to become more fragile when left outside in the heat or cold for long periods of time.

How windshields are made:

During the manufacturing process of windshield glass, the ‘Float Method’ is typically used. This is when the glass floats inside of a chamber. Once the annealed glass is made through the floating process, the glass sheet is molded into the exact curvature shape needed. The glass is then cooled quickly by strong blasts of cold air. Lastly, two sheets of tempered glass are placed on both sides of a Poly-Vinyl Butryal (PVB) and heated and pressed between two rollers. After this process is complete, the glass is bonded into a metal frame to fit the vehicle.

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