Bulletproof glass is a critical defense in many industries from schools to police stations. In the United States in 2021 there has been an average of two mass shootings per day. Whilst nobody wants to be worrying about their safety as they go about their day-to-day lives, some measures can be put in place to help mitigate these risks, one of these being bulletproof glass.
Bulletproof glass may be present in more public spaces you visit than you realize, offering an extra layer of safety. However, not many people truly understand how bulletproof glass works, and this article will serve as an explanation.
What is Bulletproof Glass
Bulletproof glass is an ultra-durable alternative to glass for structures and vehicles that require enhanced protection. Bulletproof glass uses strong layers of plastic which can stop a range of bullets from penetrating, absorbing their energy.
What is Bulletproof Glass Made From?
Although it is known as bulletproof glass, the material is often a combination of transparent plastics with or without glass. Combinations of both glass and plastic are highly efficient at stopping bullets.
The layers of glass and plastic are alternated in traditional bulletproof glass, but in newer versions, they use a sandwich of glass and plastic made from acrylic glass and other types of polymers. The thick glass and plastic layers are separated by thin films of a range of other plastics.
Why Does Standard Glass Shatter?
As glass has no movement, it cannot bend and absorb the energy of the bullet gradually. This means it shatters, allowing the bullet to move through without any loss of momentum.
The Basic Principals of Bulletproof Glass
Bulletproof glass is different from standard glass. The plastic layers inside are sandwiched together in a configuration called laminate, which can be as much as ten times the size of standard glass and very heavy.
If a bullet makes an impact with the bulletproof glass, its energy moves out sideways through the layers. As the energy is divided between a range of pieces of plastic and glass and spread out across a large area it is absorbed very quickly. This slows the speed of the bullet down significantly, meaning it no longer has adequate energy to pierce through to the other side. Although glass panes will break upon impact, the plastic layers stop them from flying apart.
The UL Rating System of Bulletproof Glass
The rating system is a series of tests established by the Underwriters Laboratory. The rating system sets out a widely accepted group of quality standards for bulletproof glass ranging from level 1 to level 10, with level 10 being the highest level of protection, with the capacity to withstand five shots from a 7.62mm rifle at a minimum, or larger caliber. Whilst level 10 offers the highest protection, it is also the most expensive type of bulletproof glass. This means that this type of glass is usually used by military bases and government buildings where the material costs can be justified.
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