Today, protective glazing is an integral part of building design – with systems made to withstand and mitigate the effects of extreme weather, vandalism and bomb blasts.
In this post, Errol Bull, Technical Director and a global authority on sealant technology, explores protective glazing systems – looking at the importance of choosing the right sealant, and the properties it needs to protect buildings against extreme weather, vandalism and bomb blasts.
The Rise of Protective Glazing
Over the past few decades, we have seen a huge increase in the use of protective glazing in construction. This has been driven by a number of different natural and manmade events including hurricanes, earthquakes, typhoons, rioting, vandalism and terrorist bomb attacks.
During these events, one of the largest risks to building occupants is glass. When glass is blown from its frame, the shards become sharp, fast moving projectiles with the potential to cause fatal injuries to people inside the buildings.
Protective glazing systems are designed to reduce the risk, by preventing the glass being torn from the frame and breaking into pieces.
How Protective Glazing Works
Protective glazing systems are made to withstand loads and absorb / dissipate impact energy. To do this effectively, all the components need to be carefully chosen, and need to work together as part of a unified system. Systems are only as strong as their weakest part.
This means carefully choosing the right components, from the structural framing and anchors, through the laminated glass and security films, to the gaskets, sealants, foams and tapes that tie everything together.
Sealant selection is integral to the success of any protective glazing system. It’s used to create a durable, airtight, and watertight barrier to protect window perimeters, openings, flashings, and critical junctions.
Choosing Silicone Sealants for Protective Glazing Systems
Not all sealants are created equally.
The silicone sealants used in protective glazing systems need to keep the laminated glass in place under extreme loads. This isn’t just about pure ‘strength’ – it requires a combination of different mechanical properties.
Protective glazing sealants need to be like triathletes – they have to excel at three things:
- High tensile strength – to withstand the imposed loads.
- High tear strength – to resist tear propagation from cyclic loading.
- High elongation capacity – to accommodate movement and absorb/dissipate the energy from impact loads.
Within the marketplace, there are a number of different solutions sold as protective glazing sealants – but they all differ greatly in terms of their mechanical properties and real-world performance. When sealants fail, it is often due to an inability to flex sufficiently under impact loads.
Impact Resistant Glazing – With Silicone Sealants
Our Silicone sealants are high-performance silicone structural adhesives that are ideal for use across a range of protective glazing systems – mitigating the effects of extreme weather, vandalism and bomb blasts.
Exceptionally durable, versatile and easy to use, our silicone sealants deliver proven performance in glazing systems designed to meet building codes, mitigate risk, and improve the safety of buildings.
Available in 13 colors, with the elasticity required for the most complex designs, it bonds securely, with primerless adhesion to a wide range of substrates, materials and finishes. Low VOC, it exceeds LEED requirements.