Fire resistant glass is an alternative glass option for windows which, like its name suggests, provides increased protection in the case of a fire, making it harder for a fire to spread and ensuring more time for people inside a building to evacuate. There are four main types of fire resistant glass, each of which have a distinctive set of features and drawbacks. Understanding the differences between each type of fire resistant glass can help you choose the best fit for your building project.
Wire Mesh Glass
Wire mesh glass, sometimes simply called wire glass, is a sheet of glass that has a mesh of metal wire embedded into it. The wire ensures the structural integrity of the pane of glass when exposed to extreme heat, preventing cracking and breaking. However, this means that wire mesh glass is also weaker when struck with an object, making it easier to break due to blunt force trauma. The main draw of wire mesh glass is its low cost when compared to other types of fire resistant glass.
Ceramic glass is not actually made out of ceramic, but is baked at a much higher temperature that gives it higher durability. It is both able to resist higher temperatures when compared to wire mesh glass and withstand more physical pressure before it cracks or breaks. Furthermore, ceramic glass can be glazed to be tinted, clear, or mirrored, which means that it can also be used as an energy efficient window, reflecting sunlight away from the building and helping to keep it cool in the summer months, a major benefit in hot climates. However, because the manufacturing process for ceramic glass is much more involved when compared to wire mesh glass, it is significantly more expensive (of course, actual prices will depend on the size and maker of the window in question). This can restrict the installation of ceramic glass windows in large buildings.
Intumescent glass is the middle ground between wire mesh glass and ceramic glass in terms of price, offering a moderate amount of protection. Intumescent glass is made up of multiple layers of glass, with intumescent materials between them. Intumescent materials are any substances which will expand when exposed to heat. This means that in the case of fire, the glass will crack and break, but will be held in place by the intumescent material, which also insulates the other side of the window from heat. The price of intumescent glass will increase depending on how many layers of glass it has. Contact a business, such as Fischer Window and Door Store, for more information.