While it’s unfortunate, glass distortion is a reality when customers want bigger glass in a hurricane zone. As glass sizes get larger and larger with contemporary design the need for stronger glass arises. To strengthen the glass, heat-treating the substrate with large tempering ovens increases glass strength up to four times. The downside of this process is that the uneven cooling of the glass as it exits the ovens can cause a microscopic wave in the glass.

Sunex-Measuring-System

Using computerized wave distortion scanners at the end of their tempering lines; manufacturers test the amount of distortion in all glass pieces against ASTM standards.

With the use of special, computerized equipment manufacturers do their best to minimize distortion levels, though in the end, no glass is perfect. When the glass substrates are laminated together some times these waves on each piece being laminated oppose each other in such a way that causes some visual distortion. As architects and builders it’s important to educate your customers on the reality that is glass distortion. This helps increase awareness and ensure customer satisfaction. Sunex is here to help you get those conversations started …First, it’s important to understand how glass distortion is measured. Using computerized wave distortion scanners at the end of their tempering lines; manufacturers test the amount of distortion in all glass pieces against ASTM standards. As you can see in the image below, as the glass panel passes through the line a computer is posting the results of the optical wave distortion. This is where the decision is made and the glass is either approved or rejected. Only after being approved are glass pieces sent on to laminating.Sunex-Glass-Distortion-TestingDuring the lamination process a plastic interlayer is bonded between two or more panes of glass under extreme heat and pressure. The result is a more durable material that is often used for special applications such as sound control, hurricane resistance, safety ad UV filtering. While laminating is great for bringing additional properties to glass, it is important to understand how annealed and heat strengthened laminate glass can impact distortion. For an overview, check out this publication <link to TSB> from one of our trusted suppliers, Cardinal Glass.In all cases educating the customer is key. While many glass distortions are not apparent when viewed from perpendicular angles in the middle portion of the glass, the story can change pretty quickly as you start to look around the perimeter frames or move around.
Sunex-Distorted-Glass

While many glass distortions are not apparent when viewed from perpendicular angles in the middle portion of the glass, the story can change pretty quickly as you start to look around the perimeter frames or move around.

When customers see glass distortion from different angles and around the frame perimeters, it raises concern. This is where it’s important for us, as suppliers, builders and architects to set appropriate expectations. Start the conversation early, establish a standard of quality and ensure that when the job is done, the customer is going to be pleased. At Sunex one way that we ensure customer satisfaction is to eliminate the surprises. When glass distortion is a concern, we take new customers to an existing job so that they can see, for themselves, what their windows or doors are going to look like when they are complete. This allows us to build trust and also ensure that we don’t move forward with a job that is not going to meet expectations.In a world where no glass is perfect, we urge you to take the time to educate your customers on the reality of glass distortion. We guarantee it will save you a lot of time and hassle in the end. If you have additional questions on glass distortion or are in need of additional resources, don’t hesitate to give us a call. We’re here to help.