Advantages & Disadvantages of Glass as a Building Material

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Glass is a magical material which has so many different properties and uses, that it has presented Architects with many new possibilities and designs. Glass is most typically used as transparent glazing material in construction and also used in architectural features like doors, windows, partition. Glass is a transparent hard substance created by the application of heat to sand or quartz.Glass is an inorganic, transparent or translucent material which can be molded into any shape. Glass is a mixture of raw materials like Silica, sodium potassium carbonate, lime or lead oxide, Manganese oxide which is ground, sieved and mixed in specific proportion and melted in furnace.

Courtesy - 123rf

Advantages:

  • The glass that absorb, refracts or transmits light. It can be made transparent or translucent so it adds extraordinary beauty to the building.
  • Glass transmits up to 80% of available natural day light in both directions without any yellowing, clouding or weathering.
  • The glass is fully weather resistance so it can withstand the effects of the wind, rain, or the sun and can retain its appearance and integrity.
  • Glass does not rust so it does not degrade graduallyby chemical and surrounding environment effects.
  • Glass has a smooth glossy surface so it is dust proof and can be easily cleaned.
  • Glass allows natural light to enter the house even if doors/windows are closed so thus it saves energy and also lowers the electricity bills, brightens up the room and brings out the beauty of the home,and most importantly it boosts the mood of occupant.
  • It is an excellent insulator against electricity.It is impossible to conduct an electric current under the influence of an electric field.
  • Available in varieties of colours and when we combine the glass sheet in laminated or insulated units, they change in colour and appearance.
  • It can be blown, drawn and pressed to any shape and hence it is used for general glazing purposes in building, shop fronts, building doors and windows and workshops. It is also used for furniture after being laminated with plywood or metal sheet.
  • Glass provides an ideal way to showcase a product.
  • It is also with a deep understanding of glass science and by using  fusion draw manufacturing process to lead the display industry with its superior liquid crystal display (LCD) glass that fueled the electronics gadget screen revolution.
  • Glass is 100% recyclable and it does not degrade during the recycling process, hence it can be recycled again and again without loss of quality or purity.
  • The glass is UV stable, Since It is not attacked by ultraviolet radiation and hence cracks, discolouration or disintegration will not occur.
  • The glass is excellent abrasion resistant so it will resist surface wear caused by flat rubbing and contact with another material.
  • The glass is stable over a wide range of temperature so it is used for fireplace glass, high-temperature light lenses,and wood burning stoves, cooking tops and high-temperature areas where low expansion is needed.
  • It is unaffected by noise, air, water and most of the acids hence discoloration, alteration in the degree of shine, softening, swelling, the detachment of coatings and blistering will not occur. Glass also protects against outside barriers.
  • Glass has the ability to make the structure look more stunning, sophisticated and adds beauty to the building. It is used to achieve the architectural view for external decoration.
  • When used in the interiors, glass saves space.
Also Read: 4 Different Types of Treatment on Glass
Courtesy - 123rf

Disadvantages:

  • Manufacturing of glass is high energy consuming process due to high temperature required for processing the raw materials, and it is expensive material and ultimately increases the cost of a building.
  • The glass is very rigid and brittle materials so when it is subjected to stress, it breaks without significant (strain). Broken pieces of Glass may be sharp and chances of injury are very high.
  • The glass is less impact resistant so the capability of the glass to withstand a suddenly applied load is very poor.
  • The glass is affected by external hydrofluoric acid hence sometime etching is appear on glass surface.
  • The Glass is affected by alkalis ions. Alkali solution simply dissolves a glass surface and as long as the supply of alkali is sufficient,this type of corrosion takes place at a uniform rate.
  • Glass offers superior transparency of heat hence it is to be balanced with its relatively low R-value (energy saving). R-value is considered as one of the most important factors for insulating.
  • Use of glass also enhances the cost of security.
  • The glass is also unsafe for earthquake proven area. Unfortunately, there is no such Glass as an earthquake proof material but costly treatment makes them withstand against earthquake.
  • The glass is poor in terms of heat preservation, leading to higher costs in the operation of air-conditioners.
  • Though many feel that once you provide glass in a building façade, you are free from painting expenses for ever but this is not fine. You may have to spend equally for cleaning of glass. Sometimes it is as costly as expose painting. Again, you may paint building once in a 5 years but for glass you have to clean every year.
  • Glass absorbs heat and hence act as a greenhouse and hence not suitable in warm and hot climates. It will increase AC load and more energy consideration for air conditioning.
  • Glare is a major problem in glass façade building.
Also Read: Manufacturing Process of Glass

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