Current trends in glass engineering: massive & thin glass
If we look at current trends in glass engineering, we can see four main directions in which significant developments can be noticed; glass is getting larger and thinner and we now see the application of thick glass in the built environment. Moreover, different functions, like sensors, get integrated in glass. Driven by architectural demands, glass panels of 3.5 x 15 meters are now available, even fully tempered and/or laminated. Thin glasses on the other hand can be found as carrier material for bio-engineering, to carry embedded sensors or as protection of our phones. Regarding the built environment, thin glass in a range of 0.1 – 2 mm is also frequently found in triple or quadruple insulated glass units, moveable structures or cold bent applications.
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Jens Schneider
Opposite these developments in thin glass, we now also see the application of thick glass. Examples from the Chanel store in Amsterdam and the Atocha station in Madrid show examples of casted glass solutions, whereas stacked float-glass panels lead to translucent and structurally interesting possibilities. Also, we see a lot of integrated functionality in the glass. Next to electrochromic glass, liquid crystal glass presents the next step in switchable glazing. And finally, we see a future in which technical equipment has digitized the human senses using embedded sensors so it can taste, see, touch, smell and hear. We believe that glass will play a crucial role in these developments as a carrier material, a protective layer and as interface to the user.