After a long day, home is what you come back to. But that humble abode of yours is still at risk of harm from Mother Nature’s multiple powers. One of these powers, the most uncontrollable one without a doubt, is fire. Commercial buildings, restaurants, malls, educational institutes, and almost every building are now equipped with fire-rated glasses. Although the damage done by a fire is irreparable, the degree to which it spreads can now be managed with the help of fire-rated glass.
Let’s discuss more about this industrial glass and its types.
Introduction to Fire Rated Glass
Fire-rated glass, sometimes referred to as fire-resistant safety glass, provides a period of fire-resistant protection against smoke and flame. It contains special glazing that, for a certain period, prevents it from cracking or shattering.
There are two broad categories of Fire Rated Glass:
- Fire Protective Glass
Fire-protective glasses are made with protective glazing that withstands heat and flames for a specified amount of time, prevents the glass from melting, and prevents smoke and flames from spreading.
- Fire Resistive Glass
Often fire-resistive glasses provide protective glazing to help preserve flames and smoke, but also provide a barrier to the flow of radiant heat.
Classification of Fire Rated Glasses
The fire-resistant glass comes in three variations, that are:
- Integrity Glass, E Type
It is the most common fire-resistant form of glass. This type of glass prevents flames and hot gasses from entering via the unexposed side when exposed to flame. This doesn’t stop heat from passing through the glass, however.
There are different approaches to integrity glass production and completion:
- Wired Glass: Wire is wrapped in float glass when in a molten state. The glass is made of sheets, usually, 6-7 mm thick, and cut to fit as required.
- Modified Toughened glass: A single glass panel undergoes a toughening (or tempering) process in which heat is applied to modify and strengthen the glass structure. When it has gone through the toughening cycle, it is made to order and can not be cut.
- Radiation Control Glass, EW Type: Like integrity glass, this glass type prevents fire and hot gasses from burning through to the other side. It also prevents the penetration of any gas, due to how its interlayers respond to fire.
Production methods for this type of glass are:
- Modified coated toughened glass: To counteract some of the heat, a special coating is added to the outer layer of toughened glass, and therefore the volume transmitted through the glass reduces. The glass is made to order and can’t be cut until the process is complete.
- Laminated Glass: Two or more glass layers have a resin or intumescent coat. This type of glass varies in thickness by the manufacturer but typically is 7-20 mm. The glass is manufactured in sheet-shaped form and cut to scale.
- Insulation Glass and Integrity, EI Type: The EI class is the best of the classifications for fire-resistant glass. This type of glass stops flames and hot gasses from spreading when exposed to a spark and also holds the average temperature of the non-exposed face below 140 ° C.
Where to use Fire Rated Glass?
Below is an outline of four places where all of the glass used must be graded as fire rated.
- Fire Escapes
Building regulations provide strict guidelines for the protection periods for each fire-rated glass component of a building. The use of fire-rated glass in fire escapes prevents fire from spreading.
- In Commercial and Housing Industry
As part of a system, the fire-rated glass should be used to confine a fire to the room where it originated, without spreading it in other rooms or structures. Fire-rated glass partitions delay the fire spread, without developing a claustrophobic feeling.
The materials used for a building’s interior lining can contribute significantly to the fire’s growth, both in terms of the fire’s ability to spread across its surface and the amount of heat generated during its combustion.
- Exterior Building Material
To avoid the spread of fire from building to building, exterior walls and roofs in commercial buildings are legally required to resist flames spread across their surface. Fire-rated glass walls are a non-combustible material, unlike more conventional exterior building materials, meaning they provide improved protection against fire spread.
A key component of modern building design is fire-resistant safety glass, not only in health and safety but also in harnessing the benefits of increased light, transparency, and visibility. Fire-resistant glass can have a variety of decorative and horizontal applications, including frameless systems.