What is a windshield made of

Vehicle glass

It's no secret: road traffic poses great dangers for us humans. Speed, bad weather and light conditions or inattentiveness harbor an enormous risk, especially when it comes to glass damage.

In order to minimize injuries and accidents and to keep a clear view, vehicle glass must have special properties. The types of glass used in vehicle construction for windshields, side windows or heated rear windows usually require special approvals.

What is vehicle glass actually made of?

There are clear differences between the glazing of rail vehicles and public transport compared to trucks and cars. Laminated safety glass (VSG) is mainly used for the construction of any windshield, as it is not so easy to cause cuts if the windshield breaks.

The front screen should not only protect against wind and foreign bodies, it is also the load carrier of the airbag. Vehicle glass can also be upgraded: Tinting film, for example, protects against strong UV radiation, attached sensors react to rain, light and humidity and regulate the light and air conditioning of the car accordingly. There are three different types of vehicle glazing:

  • one-piece, straight discs
  • straight disc divided in the middle
  • curved discs

While front and rear windows were often drawn in with rubber in the past, nowadays vehicle glass is usually glued to the body and subjected to a window seal. As an essential part of every car and truck, it plays a major role in the rigidity of the entire vehicle. So-called “toughened safety glass” (ESG for short) is mostly used for the side and rear windows. When broken, this breaks down into numerous, minimal pieces. For the front or windshield, however, laminated safety glass (VSG) is chosen.

These are two layers of glass that are connected by a tough elastic film. Shards stick to it, but should they fall off, they usually crumble off as blunt particles. However, the impact speed and mass play a major role in the breaking process: at some point, even the best glass can no longer absorb the consequences of frenzy.

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Are all windows on the vehicle equally safe?

In contrast to the side and rear windows, thick laminated safety glass (VSG) with tough-elastic PVB films is used for the front window so that as little splinters as possible fall off.

The side and rear windows are made of single-pane safety glass (ESG), as they have to be smashed in in an emergency. The two glasses work differently, so the question of safety must be answered on a case-by-case basis.

It is obvious why vehicles need windows: this is how the driver can see where to go. Side and rear-view mirrors expand the view, as do side and rear windows. They provide orientation, while passengers at the same time have a good view of the passing landscape. But compared to the carriages and cars of our ancestors, modern vehicle glass also serves to protect the occupants.

But it can do even more besides: Provided with tint films, it can, for example, reduce the UV radiation entering the car. The heat radiation and heat in the vehicle can also be influenced by insulating glass or heat protection glass. On the inside of the first pane, this contains a film applied with a metallic substance, which reflects the radiation.

Furthermore, vehicle glazing is now largely heatable, and some are also self-cleaning and water-repellent. Driving through thunderstorms is no longer a problem these days, incidentally, stone chips in laminated glass can now be quickly repaired:

The repair with a highly transparent synthetic resin takes around 30 minutes. The resin fills the damaged area and is finally cured with UV light, so that the strength of the pane is almost completely restored. This type of stone chip repair means that the entire pane does not have to be replaced at once.

The windows of the brand new vehicle models are sometimes equipped with antennas for the car radio, equipped with sensors sensitive to rain, light and air humidity, and the most futuristic of them even function as a head-up display (HUD): This shows driving information such as speed, navigation instructions and control displays projected onto the windshield - directly into the field of vision. Pretty handy, isn't it?

Speaking of the latest technologies: Of course, design also plays a major role for vehicle enthusiasts. Vehicle glass can now be found in different tones, such as white, blue, bronze or green and also with blue, green or gray sun protection strips.

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