The technology used for structural glazing has evolved and developed rapidly in recent years. Before it was possible to create large glass panels, small ones were used alongside bars and frames to create a winder.
It has taken centuries for scientists and architects to create the processes required to produce glass without perfection and even longer to develop glass that can bear significant weight.
In the modern era, the world is now packed with large office buildings and skyscrapers, where the walls are built almost entirely of glass. There are even glass buildings that are perfectly safe to walk on.
All of this is only possible due to structural glazing. As a result, the glazing industry is booming, with a £1.1 billion valuation, and the market size is expected to increase by a further 9.8% this year.
This article will help you learn more about structural glazing, how it works, and the great benefits that it offers architects and builders.
What is Structural Glazing?
Structural glazing is a type of building material that consists of several reinforced panels of load-bearing glass, each bonded together and held by silicone adhesive.
This method of bonding the thick glass together ensures it is much thicker and stronger than normal glass, and therefore it does not require the same structural support as normal glass, such as a frame.
As a result, this streamlined aesthetic offers unobstructed views and can be very popular for any building with a view, such as office blocks or highrise blocks of flats.
|How does structural glazing get put together?|
In most instances, structurally glazed glass is bonded and held together and then attached to the framework of your chosen building or structure.
To ensure this bonding is done to the highest standard and there is no risk of the structural glazing coming loose, builders use high-performance silicone sealant, designed specifically for this purpose.
The chosen silicone sealant must be flexible, so it can handle the building’s materials shifting and moving due to changes in temperature, vibrations, extreme wind, shrinkage, and moisture.
Otherwise, the structural glazing will put the building at risk of becoming unsafe very quickly.
What is Structural Glazing Used for?
The most common use for structural glazing is during the creation of skyscrapers. It is frequently used for highrise buildings in city centers worldwide. Structural glazing systems offer these types of buildings a seamless, modern look that businesses and flat-owners adore and offer excellent installation and protection from any and all weather types.
Structural glazing is a highly versatile material and can be used to build anything from floor-to-ceiling windows and glass roofs to fancy elevators and walkways.
But structural glazing is not only used for office buildings in city centers. Homeowners are also using this material for glass extensions or stunning skylights to try and capitalize on the natural light on offer.
Structural Glazing Benefits
1. Architectural freedom
Structural glazing provides builders with unprecedented versatility. As structurally glazed glass can bear weight without the support of the frame, designers are not hindered by factoring in available frame sizes or how much the glass weighs.
Structural glazing offers architects a solution for when they want to build large structures with stunning views.
2. Natural light
As you would imagine, structural glazing is a fantastic way to gain more natural light in any type of building.
Studies have shown just how important exposing yourself to daylight is for your circadian rhythm and overall health and well-being, and buildings with more natural light are becoming more and more popular.
Daylight helps the body with sleep, your immune system, and health. If you spend too much time within artificially-lit environments, you will not gain these invaluable health benefits.
Building with large structurally glazed windows offers occupants much better access to the outside world, helping improve their productivity, happiness, and general well-being.
One of the most significant advantages of structural glazing is insulation. At first, it might seem counterintuitive to see this as a benefit, as the glazed glass can create spaces that overheat during the day and then become too cold during the night.
However, thanks to advances in technology, modern, structurally glazed glass is extremely well insulated.
Many panels utilize thermal glass technology known as solar gain. Solar gain allows the glass to absorb the heat of the sun while also keeping spaces at a pleasant temperature, no matter what the weather is like outside or what time of day it is.
On top of this, as the glass is bound together with adhesive rather than via metal framing, structural glazing offers little to no exposed metal on the outside of the building, which significantly reduces the thermal bridging potential, and much less energy is needed to cool and heat the space.