The difference between bullet-resistant and impact-resistant glass

In public spaces, modern glass products have changed the standards and codes of practice used to specify what glass to use in each different type of installation. It is important to note the difference between glass used for increased security and glass used in high risk impact areas. Even though toughened glass can have an increased strength of up to factor 5 it still does not mean it can stop a bullet. But with the increased strength it could stop a person falling through the glass.

For this reason it is used in areas of low level glazing and in and around doors, as well as any areas where accidental glass breakage could cause a risk of injury. This includes overhead areas; table tops; shelves; cabinet doors etc. Imagine a skylight shattering, with sharp glass shards raining down on the occupants of the building! With toughened glass, even though the glass does fall, the small particles are relatively harmless. Another use for this stronger glass is in areas where the glass could be loaded to a high level of pressure such as floors; walkways and barriers.

The toughening process that this glass undergoes does not change the basic composition of the glass. You can still use normal float glass stock sheets when cutting the glass to be toughened.


In contrast to this bullet-resistant glass has a very different composition, containing a combination of polycarbonate; acrylic; PET and enhanced performing PVB Interlayers.

Benefits of bullet-resistant glass include improved ballistic performance (thus enhanced safety and security); acoustic insulation and it is much lighter in weight due to the acrylic and polycarbonate materials added.

When deciding which glass to use it is therefore important to always first establish the main function it will be playing in either safety or impact protection. This negates focusing on budget and value, rather firstly looking at creating true safety through using the right material.

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