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Go for wireless glass

Post Time:Jul 25,2008Classify:Glass QuotationView:442

India is seeing a boom in construction with several malls, commercial complexes, offices and hospitals coming up. These buildings have a high quantum of human traffic and require designs and use of building materials that ensure the highest level of safety for occupants. One of the key aspects of safety that is gaining priority is protecting occupants against fire hazards.

Outdated and incomplete solution

For decades, wired glass has been the most common fire-rated glass product. However, the modern view is that wired glass only gives an ‘illusion of safety’. Building designers are often unaware of the impact resistance of wired glass and believe it to be a safety product, because the wires give the appearance of increased safety.

The common misconception is that the embedded wires reinforce impact strength, when they do just the opposite. The wires actually weaken the glass and substantially reduce its impact resistance, thus making wired glass only half as strong as ordinary annealed glass. Wired glass is more dangerous than regular glass when it breaks because the exposed wires are razor sharp and can increase the severity of a victim’s injury.

A hazard in an actual fire

Wired glass is just annealed glass (not toughened to any standards of impact safety) with a wire-mesh sandwiched inside which is supposed to hold the glass when it melts. Wired glass is commonly used in India as an approved fire-protection glazing for fire doors and windows.

At the slightest impact, the wired glass breaks. When the glass breaks, its wires become exposed. In the panic seen during fire accidents, the exposed razor-sharp wires can inflict serious injury. Internationally there have been many recorded instances of children and young adults getting permanently injured as a result of the exposed wire glass. Increasingly the trend is to avoid usage of large wired glass vision panels in areas where impact safety glazing is required.

When the Indian fire codes were being drafted, there was no alternative to wired glass. So when highly populated areas called for a fire rating, wired glass was given an exemption because it was felt that the risk posed by fire was greater than the risks posed by breakage. However, the fact of the matter was that accidents due to impact against wired glass were serious and this spurred the need for developing an alternate solution.

In most developed countries wired glass is not used in large glazing. In India, it is still commonly used.

The modern solution

There are better alternatives available to wired glass. These include high-performance products like transparent glasses with intumescent layers, special coatings, and laminates. These products also have better performance. They have also opened up new avenues for architectural creativity as they are transparent products, look aesthetically appealing, and integrate well with the other glass products used in the interiors.

Today products can substitute a brick wall in terms of fire rating property yet be transparent. While some preventing spread of fire and smoke, certain solutions can actually cut off the radiant heat from a fire almost completely.

These new innovations in fire-rated glazing do not stop with just offering fire resistance. Some of them, in addition, can offer benefits like:
high impact safety
sound reduction
design potential
one-way visibility
energy efficiency (insulated units with Low-E and/or argon)
heat transfer resistance

Glass in modern buildings

In today’s high density population metros, it makes long term sense to use products that offer multiple benefits as well as appeal to the aesthetics. What was once considered a limitation is now turning out to be a source of many creative solutions thanks to these innovative fire-safety glass products. Fire-rated glass and framing is no longer a restriction. It has become a means for achieving design concepts never possible in the past without compromising on safety.

Source: ExpressEstates.inAuthor: admin

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