Mechanical Functions of Glass

Mechanical Functions of Glass

Glass can be used for its mechanical strength in a number of situations. 

In architecture it can be designed to withstand the varied loads that the world's weather systems can throw at it.  You cannot say that the glass will never break but the probability of it breaking can be minimised.  Glass can also be designed so that if it does break the results are not necessarily catastrophic.

In addition to wind and snow loads glass can be used as a floor, roof or barrier to protect people.  It can be designed to increase safety for building users, provide security or act as a structural member.

The properties and applications for glass are detailed in the following sections:


  • Aquaria and Glass with Water
    the load applied by water to glass is constant but not uniform. The greater the height of the water in relation to the glass the greater the pressure.

  • Durability
    Unless broken by excessive loads glass will remain for very long periods. The glass may be pitted by the weather but still it provides service through the centuries of use.

  • Glass and Explosions
    Glass that is able to protect an area from an explosive force is not new but has become a familiar requirement for the age we live in. Like fire resistance and manual attack the glass has to form part of a complete system and will not perform as required in isolation.

  • Glass and Human Impact
    Glass in its annealed form, framed and in tact is not an immediate threat but when it is broken the long shards turn into effective cutting devices with sharp edges and momentum. Fortunately glass can be modified to change these properties and reduce the risk of injury dramatically.

  • Glass and Manual Attack
    We categorise glass into safety and security. Safety is where protection is needed from accidental damage and security for wilfull damage. Glass used for security reasons can be further broken down into the types of threat

  • Glass and Thermal Stress
    Thermal Stress is created when one area of a glass pane gets hotter than an adjacent area. If the stress is too great then the glass will crack. The stress level at which the glass will break is governed by several factors.

  • Glass Enclosures for Animals
    The weight, strength, ability to use tools and propensity to attack the glass all need to be considered above and beyond the safety of the animal enclosed.

  • Glass Strength
    Glass is clear, fairly rigid providing a lot of strength but can be brittle as well. At an atomic level glass is a network of silicon and oxygen bonds modified randomly by sodium.

  • Wind and Snow Load
    Pilkington provide the service of determining the glass thickness and type to withstand wind and snow loads when the information is not available in the standards.

We value your privacy.

We use cookies on this website for analytics, remarketing, social media (optional) and content (essential) purposes.

By clicking ‘Accept All’ you consent to the use of cookies for non-essential functions and the related processing of personal data. Alternatively you can reject non-essential cookies by clicking ‘Essential Only’. You can adjust your preferences at any time by visiting our Cookie Policy and access the settings on that page.

For more information please read our