I watched a very dramatic demonstration the other day. It was part of a promotion by a supplier of polymer interlayers. The subject of the demonstration was glass balustrading. Now, you may think – “Oh, glass balustrading, I’ve seen some of those panels at the front of so and so’s balcony on the second floor” or, “Oh yes, there were a few panels around so and so’s swimming pool”, and draw the conclusion that it is a small, or limited, market. However, the next time you are at some International Air terminal, for example, take a look around you – there are acres of glass panels serving as balustrading along multiple mezzanine floors and stairwells. As I have mentioned before, it is a modern architectural aesthetic that provides you with more views around the often splendid interior of the terminal, and provides Airport Security with better views of you and whatever you are up to.
The demonstration was in order to show off a certain rigid polymer interlayer and its benefits. Firstly I was asked to rest my arm on the top edge of a thick (10mm) toughened glass panel propped standing upright on the floor, and to lean with a little weight. The demonstrator used a little pointed tool to punch the glass and it exploded into a million pieces under me, simply disappearing and leaving me to quickly regain my balance. If I had actually been leaning, balanced against the glass and it was a 1st floor (or higher) balustrade panel, I would have gone over the edge: no question. The next demo was with a similarly heavy piece of toughened glass, but with a heavy, but standard, PVB interlayer to hold all those fragments together. Leaning on it again, when it was struck with the point it fragmented but held together, and sagged badly under my weight. Once again, if I’d been supporting my weight against it I would have gone over the edge. In the next demo the toughened glass was laminated using the special rigid Polymer. When broken the whole panel stayed where it was, holding my weight. Point made.
Glass balustrading panels will usually have their edges exposed top and sides, on show for all to see and touch. It is imperative that not only should the glass edges be polished smooth, but that the laminated interlayer is finished neatly, giving an overall tidy appearance to the edge. At Custom Glass Products we take pride in our edge finish, as discerning clients will always look for this property in glass balustrading. Strong, neat and smooth. Just how I like my whisky.