We all know glass is brittle and fragile. Its part of its very nature. If you hit a pane of glass with a hammer, it will break – even double- or triple-glazed glass will succumb after a few blows.
Glass windows, therefore, remain a security risk. If a burglar wants to get into your home, they can quite easily break most windows to gain entry.
At present there are some alternatives to standard glass which can be used in certain situations. Although they are not literally unbreakable, they are an improvement on the usual panes.
In addition, scientists across the globe are researching ways to make glass more resilient to outside forces. They are hoping to develop truly unbreakable glass which can be used across a range of applications – including in the home.
The most common unbreakable (or, more accurately, less breakable) windows are mainly fitted by householders with security concerns. There are two main types: one made of glass, and the other made from plastic.
The glass version consists of two sheets of glass with a clear film of plastic sandwiched in between. This plastic film will remain in place should the outside glass be smashed, preventing anyone from entering the property. These types of panes are typically used in hurricane zones, where they will stop property from being damaged by wind and rain should a storm break the windows.
The plastic windows are made of polycarbonate and are lightweight, strong and surprisingly see-through. Much harder to break than normal glass, they can be used in any size of window so are suitable for places where security is a necessity.
In most homes, however, normal double glazing in Cheltenham – such as that available at www.firmfix.co.uk – provides adequate protection.
Scientists are looking into the physical properties of glass, which make it brittle, and are trying to counter these laws of physics in order to create a truly unbreakable glass.
According to the Daily Mail, researchers in America have been developing glass made from metal.
Scientists at the US Department of Energy and the California Institute of Technology combined five different elements, including the rare metal palladium, to form a damage-tolerant metallic glass. Unfortunately, the panes cost so much to manufacture that the project is being confined to certain niche applications.