Bulletproof glass is used to protect the Pope, the president of the United States or the employees at a business that handles large amounts of cash. Bulletproof glass is renowned for its ability to withstand the impact of numerous bullets without shattering like regular glass. Actually, the term bulletproof glass is a misnomer for two reasons. First, the material is not made only from glass. Second, the correct term a Houston glass company would use to describe the substance is bullet resistant. Given ample time and a large caliber bullet with a powerful charge, so-called bulletproof glass will break. The degree of bullet resistance depends on the thickness of the glass and how it is made.
Types of Bullet-Resistant Glass
There are three main types of bullet-resistant glass.
- Acrylic plastic may look like glass, but it is far stronger than normal Houston commercial glass. If a single sheet of acrylic is 1-inch thick or thicker, it is deemed to be bullet resistant. Acrylic is 50 percent lighter and resists direct impact better than glass.
- Polycarbonate is another type of plastic that is more versatile and protects better than acrylic. It weighs about 80 percent less than glass, so thicker pieces are easier to handle. Polycarbonate contains several layers. Its pliable nature allows it to absorb the energy of a bullet and prevents the projectile from passing through it. Because it costs more than acrylic or glass, it is frequently used with glass, acrylic or other materials to produce a bullet-resistant product.
- Glass-clad polycarbonate employs layers of glass on both sides of a polycarbonate sheet to achieve its impenetrable status. This is similar to laminated paper that resists scratches and smudges. After the polycarbonate is sandwiched between two sheets of glass, it is heated and cooled to fuse the layers together. The end result is a thicker material that looks like glass but resists impact more efficiently than and type of Houston residential glass ever could.
The Importance of Thickness
Normal bullet-resistant glass is designed to stand up to a single bullet of average size and power. Thicker bullet-resistant glass can protect against several larger bullets fired from more powerful weapons. For example, bullet-resistant glass that can stop a round from a .38-caliber revolver would be unable to withstand a bullet fired from a hunting rifle. Bullet-resistant glass can be up to 3 inches thick.
One-way bullet-resistant glass is a new invention. It has two layers. The outside is glass, and the inside is flexible polycarbonate. When a bullet strikes the outer layer of glass, the impact is spread across a wide area. The polycarbonate backing absorbs the force more efficiently to stop the bullet after the initial power has been redistributed. However, if a bullet strikes the inner layer first, it pierces the polycarbonate and continues through the outer layer of glass. Armored cars make effective use of one-way bullet-resistant glass.
Bullet-resistant glass costs $25 to $100 per square foot depending on the type and thickness. It is most commonly found guarding the following types of buildings.
- Government buildings
- Convenience stores
- Post offices
- Check-cashing stores
- Jewelry stores
- Liquor stores
- Art galleries
Bullet-resistant glass is not only used in windows and windshields. A California company makes a polycarbonate cover for iPads that resists scratches, dents and breakage. However, it is not guaranteed to be able to stop a bullet.
For more information on how bullet-resistant glass can protect your business or residence, contact Northwest Glass & Mirror at 281-463-7801. We will discuss the various types that are available. Then, you can make an informed decision on whether bullet-resistant glass is the solution to your needs.