What is Plate Glass?
Plate glass is a type of glass used for commercial and residential purposes. It is a single pane, large sheet of flat glass with uniform thickness. Flat glass is a broad term and covers different types of glass including float glass, sheet glass, rolled glass and plate glass. Even tempered and laminated glass, mirrors and window glass fall under the category of flat glass.
How is plate glass manufactured?
Originally flat glass was manufactured by pouring molten glass onto metal tables or plates which was then rolled flat and left to cool. Shop front glass, window glass, and mirrors were manufactured with this process. This process was used until the 1950s and replaced with the modern float glass manufacturing process. The term plate glass is still used for a flat pane of glass even though the manufacturing is done using the float glass method.
Float glass method - In this process, molten glass is poured over liquid tin and ceramic or air rollers roll it flat, the liquid glass is left to cool slowly. It is then cut and snapped into sheets. The sheets of glass are ground and polished to enhance the quality of the glass. The float process dominates the market now and it is used to manufacture glass for many different applications.
Where is plate glass used?
Plate glass can be cut to different shapes, sizes and thickness to suit a range of different applications. Plate glass can also be frosted or tinted. It is versatile and can be used for various purposes including:
- Doors and windows
- Window Louvres
- Glass table tops
- Dining tables
- Cabinet doors
- Shopfront Glass
- As raw material to produce toughened, laminated glass products
Benefits of plate glass
Plate glass has many benefits like:
- It can be cut to any shape, size or thickness
- It can be tinted or frosted for privacy and etched to be used as a decorative glass
- It has high clarity and quality
- Easy to clean and resistant to mould and mildew
Disadvantages of plate glass
Plate glass is brittle and can cause injury as the glass breaks into shards which can be very sharp.
Difference between Plate Glass and Tempered Glass
Plate glass is allowed to cool slowly (this process is known as Annealing). When the glass breaks, it typically breaks into large and sharp pieces which can be dangerous. Plate glass can be tempered to increase its durability and safety.
Tempered glass is cooled fast during its manufacturing process. This changes the chemical structure of glass making it four times stronger than annealed glass. When it breaks, it will break into small, blunt pieces. Tempered glass is much safer and useful in residential and commercial applications where there is a higher risk of accidental breakage.